Any solid Link Building Campaign should include an ongoing review of external links from other sites pointing to yours (or more accurately to one of your web pages). These backlinks not only send targeted web visitors to your website, they also (if done right) improve your credibility with the search engines. Management of these inbound links is often the most overlooked aspect of a Link Building Strategy.
For those of you just getting started, here is a list of the seven most critical things to manage.
1. Track your inbound links
This is where you must start. Using a Word document, or Excel spreadsheet, record all your incoming links. Additional data should include the name of the site, Google PageRank, linking URL, link type (organic or non-organic), anchored text, link status (i.e. active), date reviewed and comments.
2. Recheck your backlinks
Tracking the links to your site is just the beginning. Not all links are permanent (for a wide variety of reasons). Periodically, you should check your list to ensure that your incoming links still exist. If not, you should determine if they were simply moved to another page (during site redesign) – or were removed all together. And… if it is a paid link, it should be at the top of your to be addressed list!
3. Test search results
You should also think past just getting a link. Ideally it should be crawled and indexed by the search engines – and show up in an organic search engine results page (SERP). This is when you get the real value. Test and record the results in the comments section of your Link Building Report.
4. Identify the web page(s)
We often find when reviewing the external links for our clients, that they generally all point to the home page. Is there another web page that would be better suited? Remember we want to improve ranking of more than just this one page. Spread the Google juice!
5. Analyze anchor text
Along the same lines, in analyzing the data, you may also discover that all (or most) of the anchored text is your “business name”. In addition, you may also find a number of meaningless terms such as “website” or “click here”. Or even worse, there may be no text just your company’s URL embedded into the link (Google is all about words). The company name, of course is good for building brand – but take this one step further and think “keywords”. You will need to request this modification from the linking site.
6. Use link value (as a gauge)
Yes, believe it or not, there are situations when managing a link is not worth the trouble. If the link value is low (PageRank 0 – 3), you may decide to pass it up. Keep it in your report for review at a later date.
7. Review your web analytics
Last but not least, you should be tracking and analyzing your traffic sources including both referring sites as well as the search engines. This will also help you determine – which aspects of your Link Building Campaign is working as well as what is not.
This, of course, is not a complete list. But these are some of the major and common oversights that we see when we audit or consult on in-house link building efforts. Before you embark on link submissions and link development, we recommend improving the links that you have already acquired. It holds true regardless of whether they are paid or natural links.