If you’ve been working in the online marketing world for a while, you know that building links effectively is nothing short of down right hard work. There are many do’s and don’ts of link building, and those do’s and don’ts are often changing, making it difficult to stay current on effective link building trends. To stay ahead of the link building game, it requires a lot of dedication, daily research, and the right link building tools. With the combination of these three elements, you will be well on your way to building quality links left and right in order to capture the attention of the top search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo!
A day in the life of a typical link-builder might go something like this: wake-up, go straight to your computer, search for target sites, rack your brain for creative pitches, generate content that webmasters will like, and then send out 50-100 e-mails pitching your content.
Link building definitely takes dedication in order to stay persistent and creative, all while growing your links and keeping up with the competition. While link building takes extreme determination, it definitely will pay off in the end, especially if you stick to proven link building practices, use the right tools, and avoid black hat practices like article spinning, reciprocal links, link stuffing, purchasing links, mass directory submissions, and more.
So, you may be the most dedicated link builder in the whole world, but you may be wondering how you can actually keep up with Google’s updates, and keep up with the competition. After all, even with the right amount of dedication and the right tools, if you don’t know what is going on in the industry, you can do detrimental harm to your website. Here are a few ways to make sure you do the research necessary to keep up.
Learn the Industry Rules – One of the best ways to learn the link building rules is to read Google’s Webmaster guidelines. Keep in mind, Google is consistently striving to make their results as relevant as possible, and so they make updates to their algorithms almost daily. This means the rules are subject to change, and they do change often. Stay current by checking in with Google often for updates.
Read Search Marketing Blogs – One great way to do you research is to read popular search marketing blogs daily (like this one, for example). Other helpful blogs include Search Engine Land, Moz.com, and Search Engine Roundtable. If you miss an update from Google, one of these three blogs will for sure catch the update, and notify their readers in a blog post. To keep up with the industry, make sure to do your homework.
Learn which practices are old and which are new – Not only is it important to keep up on recent updates, but it’s important to understand which link building practices are outdated. After all, what used to work well could now be something that will get you blacklisted from Google.
Effective Link Building Tools
Okay, now that we know you are dedicated to your craft, and you’ve promised to do your research, here are a few tools that will help you be the king or queen of link building.
1. Your Brain – It might sound silly, but one of the best tools out there is your good ole reliable noggin. There is a reason why humans do link building, instead of leaving it all up to computers. We have an element of creativity and the ability to think and reason that computers just don’t. We can analyze a situation and determine if building a link on a certain website is really worth the trouble and the risk. There is a reason you get up every morning and go through a tough day of sending out pitches and generating quality content—your brain knows best. Trust it.
2. Domain Hunter + – Domain Hunter Plus (DHP) is a great tool to help you check for broken links on a site. To use this tool, all you have to do is load a webpage, click on the icon that Domain Hunter Plus provides and it will notify you of any dead link. Consider using the data you receive from DHP in your pitch to the webmaster. They may be grateful for the information, and be more likely to include you in their reference page.
3. Mozbar – Mozbar is a great way to run quick analytics on a site to see whether or not a site is even worth asking for a link. Mozbar shows you a website’s domain authority, page authority, link counts, external followed links, and linking route domains, to name a few. This helps you understand the page’s back link profile. You can also see other SERP overlay metrics for Google, Bing, and Yahoo! Mozbar is a great tool for link prospecting.
4. BuzzStream for Link Building– BuzzStream allows you to download a one-click tool that gathers information about a page including: PageRank, domain authority, juice passing links, site age, mozRank, and more. Not only will BuzzStream show you important metrics to use when gathering information about a website, but they also gather contact information including e-mail addresses, contact forms, and social media contacts. This helps you quickly gather information you may need to maintain a personal relationship with the website owner. This tool also allows you to assign the site to any one of your team members. BuzzStream is a great tool for big agencies with a lot of employees and a lot of clients to manage. Consider BuzzStream if you are looking for quality information about a site before you ask to submit a guest post or product review.
5. ahrefs – Ahrefs is another great tool for link builders. It includes a huge index of links with rich data analytics. To use the site, you simply enter the URL of the site you are analyzing and it returns bunches of useful information including new and internal links, linking domains, anchors, and more. Ahrefs also has their own site rating system that takes into account a site’s number of links and the link quality. If you prefer to use just one site explorer, ahrefs is a great option. Ahrefs also offers in depth SEO reporting tools, mentions reporting, batch analysis tools, backlinks reports, and domain comparisons.
6. ScrapeBox – ScrapeBox has an awesome feature that allows you to harvest the top 100+ Google results, and download them into an Excel spreadsheet. This is awesome, because you don’t have to manually search for results related to a particular keyword and put them into a spreadsheet all by yourself. Not only can you download the URL, but you can also download the correlating PageRank. This makes link prospecting a cinch. While the ability to harvest URLs is awesome, there is a downside of ScrapeBox. ScrapeBox has a feature that will submit blog comments for you. These comments will most likely go straight to a Spam folder, and won’t do you any favors as far as link building is concerned.
7. Outdated Content Finder – One of the best ways a website can increase their page authority and rank higher in the sight of Google is to continue to provide robust, refreshed content. As a link builder, one excellent strategy is to find outdated content, update the content, include a link back to your website, and submit the replacement content to the site. Outdated Content Finder helps you easily locate outdated content, and provides you with a wide range of opportunities to write killer articles that webmasters need. Writing replacement content is one of the best strategies for gaining high quality links.
8. Boomerang for Gmail – There is definitely a science when it comes to getting a response to your e-mails. Most people answer their e-mails throughout the day, and at the beginning of the week, but you may not be available to send your e-mails at that time. Boomerang for Gmail allows you to schedule your e-mails, so it sends them out during the time of day that makes the most sense. If, for example, you are working late on a Friday night and want to send an e-mail to a prospect, you don’t have to worry about it getting lost with all the e-mails from Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and possibly Monday morning. Instead, you can download Boomerang for Gmail, draft your e-mail, click the “Send Later” button that will be downloaded with the program, and schedule your e-mail for a more convenient time. For an industry that relies heavily on making sure people see and respond to your e-mails, making sure you send e-mails at the most convenient time is essential.
These are just some of the tools you can use to help you with your link building efforts. Of course, it’s vital to stay motivated and keep current on industry trends by doing your research, but once that’s in order, these tools will help you accomplish your goals for effective link building.