How to Scale Your Link Building Campaign the Right Way

March 16, 2018

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At Chainlink, we’ve learned from experience that gaining authoritative backlinks is a process that requires perseverance and patience.

Even with groundbreaking content and a list of promising email contacts, you can usually only expect a 5-7% placement rate when trying to acquire links.

Think of it this way: you could spend weeks collecting contact information and sending semi-personalized emails to 500 people with a strong chance of only getting 25 backlinks when all is said and done.

Your first thought might be that you don’t want your team to invest that kind of effort in a process with such a low return rate.

However, if you want to benefit from legitimate link building, it’s going to require a hefty amount of time and energy. To fully benefit from your efforts, you want to make your link building scalable.

In this article, we will guide you through the steps you need to take to create a scalable link building strategy, even with a small team and tight budget. First, let’s talk a little bit about link building in general.

How Link Building Is Changing

Traditionally, the more links you had pointing to your site (especially from other reputable websites), the higher Google would rank the site in its search results. Over the past decade of Google’s ever-changing algorithm, the formula for successful link building has become a lot more nuanced and less straightforward.

Google evolved to be able to detect frequently cited/referenced high quality content and websites without backlinks involved.

The rise of linkless mentions does not delegitimize link building, but rather emphasizes that Google’s trust signals come from a variety of sources. Also, you shouldn’t be stressed and feel like your efforts were a waste if you only get an unlinked mention from someone. Any positive mention of your brand present in the article, it will probably help you achieve the same goals.

How Link Building Isn’t Changing

The standard definition of link building is that it’s the process of acquiring backlinks to your website from other relevant, trusted sites to gain online credibility.

The standard definition of link building is that it’s the process of acquiring backlinks to your website from other relevant, trusted sites to gain online credibility.

We aren’t shortsighted to assume that traditional link building is the only breed of reputation building out there. However, established tactics like guest blogging are still valuable components to online brand awareness/reputation management.

Ineffective tactics (such as repeatedly asking website owners to add your hyperlink) are still not advised.

Now, let’s jump into the steps you need to take:

STEP 1: Create (Or Update) the Right Content

It’s disappointing when digital marketers make the mistake of investing time in the creation of a piece without understanding that it’s not the right kind content that can help them scale their efforts.

You need to put all your time and effort into a few evergreen assets of what is often called “cornerstone content”. This will help you pave the way to start experiencing passive link acquisition.

These are 2 important things to remember to make your linkable assets more successful:

1) The broader your market, the better.

For better or for worse, link building is still very much a game of numbers. If your content has mass appeal, the large target market will produce more of a chance of more people linking to your content.

The wider you cast your net, the more likely it is that a decent number of people will link to your piece of content. You can target a wide range of people during big events/holidays, media frenzies, and popular subjects that apply to big groups (like members of a political party or environmentalists).

For inspiration of who/what to target, see which group members/topics are trending on different social media platforms. See if you can position your asset to become part of this conversation.

When you laser in on any broad market, you open the floodgates to links back to your website. If you choose to keep your target market more specific, it limits the scope of your link building. Also, remember that longer pieces of content tend to generate business leads for a longer period of time, and therefore they’re backlink magnets.

Since it’s very likely that creating a long-form, linkable asset took a significant amount of time, it makes sense to give it the greatest chance of success that you possibly can. Don’t minimize your shot at maximizing your ROI.

2) The more evergreen the content, the better.

The ideal piece of content can be relevant forever with very few updates. Even if it’s tempting to write a big piece of content on a trending topic because it will gain traction quickly, it’s important to consider sustainability.

Since we’re talking about scalability here, we’re talking creating content that allows you to re-launch it and re-promote it (even completely re-purpose it) easily in the future.

Nothing will ever be totally immune to the changes of time. At the pace that this field and its experts are evolving and coming up with new uses of technology and tactics, you will definitely need to check your assets every couple of months to rule out any inaccuracies.

Super strong and well-planned linkable assets stand out and withstand the tumult of changing trends. Nevertheless, you can’t look at anything as black and white.

It’s not feasible to think every single asset will check every box on your list. You’re setting yourself up for failure if you believe that. However, if you make a point of it, you’ll be able to blend the best strategies for the best possible results.

STEP 2: Be Methodical About Link Prospecting

Don’t fall into the trap of rushing to find link prospects without a clear plan in place.
Let’s break down link prospecting into 2 easy steps:

1) Research your competition.

Research and rank the competition. Use a tool like SEMrush to analyze the backlinks of your rivals. Then, you can create a big list of all the links and put them in a document. Depending on your organizational style, label or color links from your competitors.

It’s extremely useful to:

1) Devise a plan for mapping out relevant search terms to rivals’ websites.

2) Compile the first 100 domains in Google’s SERPs and then add them to your color coded link list.

3) Take advantage of every bookmarking service to help you create a list of domains to export links off of your ongoing link list (as you can tell, the core of your strategy is this list).

4) Utilize an advanced tool for link prospecting so you can figure out where to find search results for each potential asset type.These kinds of tools can help you streamline and speed up link prospecting, contact, and acquisition.

5) Finally, export any other links from your backlink analysis tool where there’s a solid chance that there is a worthy backlink list.

2) Track your results methodically.

Do everything in your power to record and organize backlink groups in a methodical fashion. You must have your finger on the pulse of new link building prospects at all times.

As new opportunities emerge, you need to single them out and track them. You should keep this master link list going for years. Your goal is to collect thousands of backlinks.

Don’t forget to erase the domain and page duplicates from your master backlink list to avoid wasting time link prospecting.

STEP 3: Build an Efficient Process

It’s fascinating how persistent outreach can differentiate a piece that basically goes viral from a piece that barely manages to get 3 or 4 links.

For example, if you decide that white papers are your company’s core competency, then it’s worth it to network and build relationships with people who want/read/use that kind of resource.

The only way to come up with the most efficient process for successful link building is to listen to and learn from your target audience.

If you don’t even know if you have the right audience, prioritize that first. Otherwise your piece is just going to be seen as a temporary piece of SEO spam.

Once you have a strong understanding of the kinds of pitches that work (and don’t work) you’ll be able figure out the approach that will save your team the most time and effort while yielding the greatest results for your brand.

STEP 4: Prioritize Improving Your Ranking

Prioritize ranking number one for high volume keywords relevant to your content. When your assets are deemed valuable and people link to them often, then they’re on track to help you rank for something.

The whole point of link building is to generate links back to your site, so that you can rank higher in Google’s SERPs. Don’t lose sight of this ultimate goal and be as resourceful as possible.

If you have already invested a solid amount of time building a personal network of digital marketing/SEO gurus, leverage your network.

These are the people you can learn from and figure out how to make the most-likely linkable assets. You can use your network to figure out how to mold your content to be the most desirable to influential blogs in your sphere.

STEP 5: Take Advantage of Passive Link Building

Every experienced link builder will tell you that the real link building magic happens once you learn how to maximize passive link building.

The development of your content asset and the initial cost of promoting it are the two components that are the most active and expensive parts of link building.

If you want to maximize your ability to build links by exerting little to no effort, your first step is to make sure your linkable assets naturally attract continual passive discovery.

The title of your content matters. If it’s concise and intriguing, websites are more likely to feature it in evergreen section of their blog or on more prominent parts of their sites.

Take it a step further by designing the thumbnail of your content as if it were an advertisement, or a representation of your company as a whole.

One of the reasons why infographics are popular link building assets is because their visual component entices users.

To Wrap It All Up…

Scalable link building is your path towards SEO success and online credibility.

Eradicate any myths you’ve read. You don’t have to settle for mediocre SEO results.

It’s not out of your reach to generate links into the hundreds (or even thousands) every month.

If you’re looking for a winning strategy to improve your website/blog authority and monetize your content marketing efforts, link building is still one of your best options.

Our hope is that you read this and gain a renewed sense of determination to utilize link building.

Maybe you even noticed some points that we overlooked, or have ideas about how we can improve our own approach.

Reach out to us below! We’d love to give you a free consultation.

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