Link building is such a crucial step in your business that it absolutely doesn’t make any sense to go about it haphazardly or without some sort of a plan. The links you build will help increase your authority with the search engines and improve your ranking, and all of that helps increase your traffic, which leads to better sales. In the end, we’re talking about your income here, not just a bunch of blue links on a page. It’s imperative that you focus on link building and that you do it the smart way.
You should already have an extensive list of the keywords you want to rank for. The reason I say extensive is because you need to use enough keywords to attract a large amount of traffic.
Let’s say you’ve done your research and you’ve gathered together 20 keywords. That might sound like a lot, but take a look at the number of exact searches each of those keywords generates in a month. If all 20 words only total up to 5,000 searches, then you’re not targeting enough keywords. There may be a total of 5,000 searches but don’t forget, you have competition out there. All 5,000 people are not going to come flocking to your site. Look for enough high search, low competition keywords to account for at least 30,000 searches a month. And that’s just a beginning. You should always be on the lookout for keywords.
Once you’ve gathered that list of keywords, it’s time to move on to scoping out your competitors. And here’s where it can get a little tricky.
I use a program called Market Samurai to do my link building research. If you don’t have it, you can do this manually or try using the free SEO Quake add-on for Firefox. The results might not be as good as what you’ll get with Market Samurai but every little bit helps. And once you’ve had a little practice you’ll know what to look for.
What you want to do first is see who your competitors are. You can either plug one of your keywords into Market Samurai or you can do a Google search in quotes to see who comes up on the Index. Your main concern are the top ten results. After that, no one else really matters. And if there are only one or two sites above yours on the index, then those are the only sites you really need to worry about.
So you have the index results for the first of your keywords and you can see your top 10 competitors. Now you need to look closer and see who they’re getting that index position and you’ll have to look at each competing site individually.
Look to see how many backlinks they have coming in, where those links are coming from and what’s the PR behind each of those links. That’s what you need to beat. If your competitor has 2 incoming links from a PR 6 site for the keyword ‘blogging tips’ then you need to get the same quality links in order to compete.
If you can track down where his links are coming from that’s even more helpful and you can see that exact information with Market Samurai. Follow the link and see where it originates. Is it a comment link or a guest blog post or maybe it’s an actual link because the blog owner liked the content. In either case, if you can get a link on that same page, go for it. If not, find one of equal value on another blog.
As you can see, effective link building can be a very tedious process. After you’ve researched that first competitor for that keyword, you’ll want to move on to the next. And after you’ve overtaken all the links from all of your competitors for that one single keyword, you’ll start all over again with another keyword from your list.
And link building is an ongoing process. There’s always going to be someone who outranks you for a high traffic keyword and you’re always going to be finding more keywords. It’s when you understand that this process is necessary if you want to achieve that financial success you’ve always dreamed of that it becomes a lot easier to deal with.
Your competitors are outranking you for a reason and as long as they do they’re always going to get the bulk of the traffic and sales. It’s time to get serious about your link building and start doing it the right way so your blog is the one everyone else is trying to beat.