People always ask me the question: “What tools do you use for link building?” The honest answer is I don’t really use tools to build links.
When I started out in SEO, I was working in a world that wasn’t really aware of SEO tools, that couldn’t quite believe that the SEO bubble as it was seen back then would burst.
There was certainly no money for investment in SEO technology. But, even now that SEO is an accepted part of the marketing process, I still look back on my early days, remember that I’ve come from a content background and try to stick with that.
The great thing about this is I’ve got a strong background in doing everything manually; I’ve grafted and learnt how to get links from the ground up without employing ethically dubious techniques.
I think it’s still a good idea to learn the basics when you’re first getting into SEO. This gives you a good level of understanding and the core skills required for the job. The kind of things a good SEO should be able to do:
- Handle FTP
- Create a static webpage
- Get listed on paid for and non-paid for directories
- Write a keyword targeting article
- Write and distribute a press release
- Rewrite the Meta Title and Description for a website
- Amend the alt tags of the images on a site
Saying all of that, I will look into how you can best utilise link building techniques from a billy essential new starter point of view.
What are the best tools for Link Building?
- Excel (other spreadsheet programs do exist)
You can get more links than you can imagine getting the above tools. What’s more, by doing this the good old fashioned way you can, you won’t be reliant on SEO tools that can lead to you being hit by Google in the future.
How to use Google to find links
There are loads of different techniques SEOs to find link sources in Google, and I’m not going to give you a long list of them.
Try searching for KEYWORD –site: WEBSITE replacing keyword and website as required. You’ll get the hang of these types of search queries after a while, and they’ll give you a good indication of what to look out for. Once you’ve got to this stage, you may want to start using some of Google’s advanced search functions to really drill down into the data.
Make a note of exciting sites that your competitors are getting links from.
Get The Right Contact Details
You must get the correct contact details for the websites you find. Move on if you can’t find the contact details on a site fast. Then, again – note them down in your spreadsheet.
Send an email to outdo this straight away.
Don’t wait until you’ve got 20 prospective email addresses in a spreadsheet, then send out a generic spammy email asking for a link. Instead, send out unique emails to each prospect.
The more you can personalise the emails, the better chance you’ve got at getting that link.
Keep a note of the progress.
Note down in the spreadsheet if you have heard back from them if the email has bounced, if you have got an out-of-office report, and the date the person is back.
Don’t get disheartened; I’d be surprised if you get a great response to start off with. Then, if you don’t hear anything – follow up. There are a couple of ways to do this: email them again or ring them!.
It’s straightforward to ignore an email, it’s not as easy to ignore someone on the phone, and you never know – you just might get that contact that completely changes your business; look at this as an opportunity to network. Obviously, if they aren’t interested, they aren’t interested. So you can’t force them to do anything they don’t want to.
Keep track of the responses in your spreadsheet. You can mark each answer with traffic lights to make it easy to see what the reactions have been like.
How to keep a record of link building
You must keep a record of the link building you’re doing. You need to know what links have a positive impact. Record your links like this:
- Anchor Text
- URL linked to
You might want to think about recording some other information here as well, such as:
- Domain Authority
- PageRank of page
- Cache date in Google
How to become a master link builder
If you’ve managed to get through this process, then you’ll have probably picked up a few links.
At this point, it’s a good time to say there are tools out there that can help you out with elements of the process without actually doing the doing.
Even if you decide to go down the route of using SEO tools, you can’t go far wrong if you’ve got a foundation in manual link building.
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