Link building is like making pasta. Everyone claims to be a master at making it, but very few actually nail it. The same is the case with link building, where thousands of individuals claim to have mastery in, but only a few have a detailed understanding of everything, from creating a link building checklist to acquiring the links.
Did the word “checklist” made you go: “What’s that?” Don’t worry. You are one of the many individuals who rely on a few link-building tactics that others use and continue using them without much diversification in their link-building portfolio.
But, this can change with a checklist.
What is a link-building checklist, you ask? It is a planner where you outline your link-building ideas to acquire new links, improve and repair the existing links, and tactics to build a relationship to diversify your link profile.
How to build a link building checklist
A link building checklist can take many forms. It can be a spreadsheet, an MS Word document, or even a sheet of paper. The important thing is to put down a strategy that can lay the groundwork for link building.
Link building is a process where you have to focus on both quality and quantity simultaneously. You have to acquire several quality links to increase your website’s authority. External links being one of the ranking factors used by search engines to determine a website’s ranking in the SERPs.
Any checklist for link building is a customizable document. According to projects’ needs, you set your priorities and goals and divide those goals according to time duration. Basically, timing your link building strategies tells you how to improve the link building profile in the short term while also outreaching new sources, which is a long-term plan.
We divide our link building checklist into three parts:
- Low hanging fruits (just pluck and eat)
- Short term, quick reward
- Long term, maximum benefits
Low hanging fruits (we just love this term) are those link building techniques that are quick fixes. These tactics give instant results and boost our link building profile—for example, backlink audit.
Short-term, quick rewards are those tactics that require some effort and give rewards in a short time, for example, guest blogging.
Long-term, maximum benefits are the most effective of all tactics. They give a massive boost to our link profile, help us acquire quality links, and increase the authority of our website, for example, publishing high-quality content.
Now, let’s understand how these tactics come together in a checklist. These are some of the basic link building tactics that must be a part of your checklist.
Low hanging fruits
Backlink audit is the complete directory of your backlinks pointing to your website and going out from it. It helps you find and analyze links, check their health and fix the broken ones.
You can easily get details of all your links from Google Search Console. Log in to your Google Search Console account and click “Search Traffic” in the left sidebar. From the dropdown menu, click “Links to your site.” It will give you the total number of links pointing to your website.
Now you have the complete list of all the backlinks on your website. Analyze them to find the health and quality of these links and also identify broken links.
You can also use tools like SEM Rush, Ahref, Majestic SEO. These tools create a report on your links’ health and also allow you to analyze your competitors’ backlinks.
Like every other SEO tactic, competitor’s analysis helps massively in link building as well. You can see how your competitors are acquiring their backlinks.
For example, if your competitor is getting backlinks from authoritative sites that you miss out on, you can create a list of such websites.
Reach out to them with your content and convince them how your content will benefit their website.
“Directories are archaic” is what’s in buzz these days. However, I disagree with it! Directories are the easiest way to search for a business or service provider.
Ask yourself: do you not use Yelp or Clutch to find businesses? If you do, then how are these archaic? The backlinks from directories are a good source of organic traffic because they appear high in the SERPs. However, not all the directories. Find and look for suitable directories according to the industry and geo location.
Fixing broken links
Fixing broken links is also an essential part of any link-building plan. Broken links are usually of two types:
- Links pointing towards your website
- External links from your website
Broken links can stay hidden if you don’t look for them, and they can seriously hurt your link building efforts.
If your website has broken links, remove them or apply a redirect on them so that the link juice from these broken links is not wasted.
Use Google Chrome’s extension ‘Broken Link Checker.’ Install the extension and visit the webpage you want to check broken links on. Click on the extension, and it will give you a complete list of all broken links on the selected webpage.
Short term, quick reward
Link reclamation means reaching out to publishing websites to replace links pointing towards broken pages on your website and getting them replaced with new and functioning URLs so that the link value is not wasted.
For internal links pointing towards broken pages on your website, you can replace them with an alternate link with the same content.
Guest blogging is the most used and favorite link building strategy for SEO link builders. This preference is not without reasoning. It is one of the most efficient, effective, and secure methods of link acquisition.
But the effectiveness of guest blogging has changed with time due to the algorithm update of search engines. With Google now placing more emphasis on the quality and authority of content, merely getting a link from any blog isn’t enough.
These types of links do very little to improve the link profile of your website. High-quality links from authority websites in your industry benefit your website more in terms of SEO.
The most crucial step in guest blogging is the pitch. It is more than an email that says: “Please give us a link from your website.”
Your pitch should form a connection between you and the publisher. It can be done by thoroughly examining the website and appreciating the good work. Find something that others might miss and flatter the publisher by pointing it out.
Here is the pitch that we try, and it works every time with a success rate of 100%.
Social media is the treasure trove of backlinks. Half the world’s population is on social media, and placing a link here can attract too many eyeballs.
Constantly posting on social media increases the traffic on your website and also improves rankings.
You can post any content on social media. It doesn’t necessarily have to be lengthy blog posts. Create memes, make short, fun videos, upload GIFs – the idea is to force people to share your content.
Long term, maximum benefits
Nothing beats the effectiveness of quality content in link acquisition. If you publish quality content and are known for it, you wouldn’t even have to focus on link building. People know your content is good, so they will automatically link back to it.
Creating quality content requires planning and consistency. You have to find meaningful topics regarding your industry and create content that adds value for users.
After identifying the topics, put them in a content calendar. Conduct your research on the topic and write a thorough blog addressing all aspects of your selected topic.
You can also conduct studies and research to produce original content that will be cited by other websites.
If you are established in your industry as a data-driven and research-based content creator, you can generate an automatic link-building source where people will give you links without you even asking for them.
Visual content gets shared the most. Infographics increase website traffic by more than 12%. On social media, visual content boost engagement 2.3 times more than content without visuals.
Just by creating original and informative content, you can tap into a new stream of link acquisition. Information in the form of visuals is easy to grasp and process. Thus, people prefer visuals.
If you have created an infographic or visualized data, you can submit it to platforms like Visual.ly or Behance for public use. Whoever uses your visuals will link back to your website.
You can also create banner arts, GIFs, memes, and stock images. All these are a source of natural links with high authority.
Link building is a long-term process that has to be repeated to get the desired results. Without a well-thought-out plan, your link-building strategy can quickly turn into disarray. Therefore, having a link-building checklist with time-bound goals is essential in keeping things on track.
It will also help you analyze the effectiveness of your tactics. You can modify your approach based on the results – discard the tactics producing insignificant results and double down on those providing massive link juice.