Link building is an essential component of search engine optimisation. Most people who are familiar with SEO are aware of this fact. However, link building is also the trickiest and most time consuming part of the SEO process.
For smaller businesses this can present a major issue. Outsourcing your link building requirements to an SEO agency can be very expensive and it can take many months or even years before you start to see an ROI on your investment. This particularly applies to brand new web based businesses which have launched on a new domain.
The often talked about “Google Sandbox Effect” can sometimes render any link building activity obsolete. One thing small business owners can do to keep their SEO costs to a minimum would be to bring the initial link building work in-house. This does, of course, require the ability to set aside time each week to carry out this work. If you are able to do this, then there are some essential tools you’ll need. Here are 4 essential things you should do:
The Mozbar tool is essential for carrying out on-the-fly link research. It enables you to view essential link metrics about a particular site or webpage instantly, helping you to know whether or not securing a link from that site will help you to rank better in the search engines too.
The essential metrics include Page Authority, Domain Authority and MozRank – SEOmoz’s equivalent to PageRank. PageRank is no longer a reliable metric, mainly due to the fact that it is not frequently updated anymore, whereas the data in Mozbar is updated monthly.
Install SEOBook Toolbar
The SEOBook toolbar also includes a display of PageRank which, although unreliable as a metric, is still useful for comparing scores to MozRank. For example, if a particular website has a MozRank score of 5.2 and a PageRank score of 2, this may possibly indicate that Google has slapped the site with a penalty.
Be cautious of such discrepancies and be sure to run checks on the site you want to secure a link from to see if they rank well on Google for keywords in their title tags. The SEO Toolbar is also essential for quickly gathering essential data about the site you are viewing and hoping to secure a link from.
This includes: the site’s age (older sites are better for SEO), plus the volume and type of links that link to that site (sites with lots of back-links will benefit you more than sites with just a handful).
Run Searches on Open Site Explorer
Open Site Explorer is a free tool which is, again, provided by SEOmoz. It’s essential for both analysing your competitor’s back-link profile and for analysing sites you hope to secure a link from. Running a search on this tool can illuminate important warning signs about a particular site.
For example, if a site has a very high MozRank score but a relatively low Page Authority or Domain Authority score, you can use this tool to find out why. If you discover that the vast majority of a site’s back-links are from very low quality, spam sites with low PA and DA scores – cross that site off your link acquisition document (an Excel spreadsheet is essential for monitoring your link building process). Also use this tool to identify your competitor’s top links – you will need a similar link profile in order to compete with them for a top 10 position on Google.
My Blog Guest
Finally set yourself up with an account on a guest blogging platform such as My Blog Guest. This tool will help you to find other bloggers and webmasters in your niche who are actively looking for content and will link back to you in return for it. Set aside some time to write some quality articles, submit them to My Blog Guest and wait for the offers to come in.
Then analyse the sites that offer to publish your work using the tools above and select the site which fits best in terms of its relevance, metric scores and its standing with Google – be sure to run some searches on Google to verify whether previous articles the site has published rank well. This is a good indication of whether or not the site will help you to rank too.
These are just 4 tools small business owners can use to bring their link building in-house. Link building requires time, patience and consistency. If you don’t have that to offer then consider hiring a freelance SEO consultant or contract an agency.
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