Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Maintain Link Building Focus by Staying Organized

Link building is not something you should do on a whim just whenever it strikes you. You need to have a plan of execution and to set aside specific times of the week to take care of all of your link building tasks. Organization is the key to effective, and efficient, link building.

I was not always so organized, and it hampered my efforts. I used to just work on link building here there as time allowed and I kept no records of what I did. Some directory submissions here, some blog comments there. Since I no record of previous work, I was constantly attempting to get backlinks in places where I had already gotten backlinks before…which is a huge waste of time! Also, I was never really sure whether my backlinking efforts were producing anything.

Just because I submitted a directory listing or blog comment didn’t mean it would ever actually go live on the site and get indexed.

Now I keep track of everything with an Excel workbook and routinely audit my work to make sure that links I’ve submitted have been published. The spreadsheet I use is very simple and takes no time to fill out while doing backlink building. In the end, the extra few seconds of work per backlink is worth it ensure that I know exactly how my link profile is shaping up and if my work is actually working.

The workbook has these fields to track work. The fields may vary depending on type of keyword:
  • Keyword – The target keyword of the backlink. Typically this is anchor text.
  • URL of backlink – This is the URL of the site where the backlink has been place.
  • Target URL – This is the URL that the backlink points to.
  • Submitted – I put an “x” here once I have submitted the backlink.
  • Published – I put an “x” here once I’ve confirmed that a backlink is live. In many cases – like social bookmarking sites and auto-approve blog comment systems – this happens instantly, but in the case of web directories and other moderated websites, publishing can take time. Once a week I check to see which of these links have been published.
  • Direct – If the backlink points directly to the page I’m trying to rank.
  • Indirect – If the backlink points to some other website that, in turn, points to my target page.
For example, I might point some social bookmarking links at a Tumblr post which links to my target page. This builds up “link momentum” and is key in things like link wheels and such. I usually only do this with social bookmarks.
  • Notes – Any additional information.
The spreadsheet covers several different backlink types with individual spreadsheets, which can be found in the tabs along the bottom. These cover:
  • Directory Submissions
  • Article Submissions
  • Social Bookmarking
  • Blog Commenting
  • Website Outreach – This is when I’ve reached out directly to a webmaster to work some sort of custom link deal. Such a case might be a small niche or local site with a “Links” page I’d like to be added to, but does not offer a way to submit a link like a web directory would. Other cases might involve providing the webmaster with content, as with a guest blog post.

If you’d like to download a blank version of the workbook I use, you can right click and SAVE AS right here.

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