Ten steps to link strategy for SEO

15 Oct 2012

This blog post helps you to setup a link strategy for your website(s). It helps you to get grip on how to get started with link strategy. Although the ten steps are fairly easy to understand, they might imply a big change of how your company creates and maintains online content. Let’s go!

Step 1 – Select a market segment for optimization

For larger companies it’s easier to build a strategy towards each market segment in which you operate.
  • Select the target keywords
  • Group the keywords by market segment
  • Refine the selected keywords for further optimization (towards the selected market segment).
  • Add the brand name, if possible

Step 2 – Search for possible backlinks

  • Set up a list of websites, that are relevant for the selected market segment. Think of news sites, blogs, professional expert sites, clients or prospects etc. 
  • Search Google for the most important keywords and analyse the top 50 webpages in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERP). You might contact these sites for getting a backlink. Also add a column to the list and add the webpage you want the website to link to.

Step 3 – Decide who does what

  • Committee: set up a committee to supervise the project. Decide who will be part of it, how decisions are made and who is in charge.
  • Content creation: decide who will write content. Make sure that the communications division is not the only one writing content. The real experts are not working in communications. Also make sure fast publication of content is possible within the organization. 
  • Public discussion: decide on which online platforms you will participate in the discussions and decide who will participate.
  • Administration: decide who will keep track of the backlinks (which sites already have backlink, which have not and which sites need attention). Also decide who keeps in touch with the external websites.

Step 4 – Decide on the metrics

Start out by implementing Google Analytics and integrate Google Webmastertools. These metrics are key:
  • Number of backlinks;
  • Number of backlinks using keywords;
  • Unique visitors through these links;
  • SERP position.

Step 5 – Decide on the ongoing process

Make a plan which is executed every two weeks or maybe a month.
  • Check if backlinks still exist, or if the backlinks point to the correct webpages on your site;
  • Search for news sites, blogs or expert sites. React or actively participate in discussions and try to write a guest blog.
  • Do research on how your competitors are doing.
  • Let everyone know that your experts are available for interviews.

Step 6 – Create one or multiple blogs

You might create multiple blogs to target each market segment individually.

Step 7 – Create content

News: publish news updates on what’s happening in the surroundings of your company. The contents of these articles can be high level corporate news, expert news from your professionals or news from the market you are operating in.

Interviews: publish interviews with your own experts containing the latest developments in your market.

Whitepapers: publish your companies expertise on relevant subjects using whitepapers. This knowledge is popular because of the open character.

Infographics: recent research results visualized in an infographic is very popular with the public. It’s a great resource for backinks because a lot of people will share this content on their social networks (e.g. Twitters, Facebook, Pinterest, etc).

Step 8 – Optimize current content

Creating new content is fairly easy. But what about updating the existing content? It’s probably worth to rewrite some content so it contains target keywords.

Step 9 – Make content shareable

If you want people to share your content, make it shareable. The content needs to be of good quality and thus worth sharing to a visitors network. Also make sure it’s easy to share by putting up some of the social share buttons like Facebook Share, LinkedIn Share, Tweet this, Google +1 this.

Step 10 – Promotion

Newsletters: get more visitors to your website by publishing content through newsletters.

RSS feeds: create RSS feeds for your news section and blogs. Although RSS is not used as much as it used to be, there are still many users that rely on RSS for their primary source of information.

Social networks: publish links to your content using social networks.

PR: just publishing a press release is not enough. Good relations with the press agencies help to get the content published.