Below are some of the steps I would take in creating a link-building programme.
Keyword research is the foundation of any link building campaign so I would decide important keywords for homepage and high value product category pages. In general the keyword strategy for categories will consist of choosing high traffic key phrases that describe the products and services of each category.
Rankings & Visibility Report
Report on Rankings, competitors and visibility at start so that regular measurements can be used as KPI’s. I like to use advanced web ranking software or similar for checking rankings and visibility of important keywords over time compared to competitors.
Establish KPI’s, Timeframes and Reporting Cycle
I would be looking to agree KPI items like:
- Increase in number of quality links from highly relevant sites
- Increased visibility of major keywords compared to main competitors
- Increase in number of organic visitors
- Increased organic conversion rates as evidenced in Analytics ecommerce report
Perform a Link Audit
I would perform an audit of the links pointing to mysite.com using a program like Open Site Explorer from SEOmoz. This would inform me of dead or spam links.
Dead link recovery
This is one of the easy low hanging fruit activities that can be used to acquire links from websites linking to deleted or moved pages. The process involves finding out links pointing to dead pages as per audit. We need to download dead links pointing to the sites and contact webmasters pointing out the error and providing an alternative link source. It helps both sides because you are helping the webmaster as they do not like to link to dead pages.
Low quality links Removal
The process involves making a list of low quality, spam links, running the list through a program to acquire contact details and writing to webmasters with a removal request.
Competitor links Acquisition
This involves putting a competitor site into open site explorer to find the links pointing to their site. We then sort the links in terms of value and delete ones we would not like a link from. We can then import the csv file into outreach software (e.g. BuzzStream) to get contact details and manage correspondence.
Daily link building strategy
For homepage and important product category I will develop a strategy to acquire links from industry bloggers, journalists and supplier websites. I will work with PR team to ensure content and distribution is optimised.