The Link Builder's Tool Kit
Building links is easy. It must be – people on Fiverr say they will build you 100 links for $5. It's building good links that will actually benefit your website and not endanger it which is the hard part. And building GREAT links, well thats a whole different ball game.
So to help you on your way here is a list of some – I'm not going to give away all of our secrets! – of the tools you will need to get started on your link building journey.
You're reading this, that's one thing you can check off your list. I'm going to assume you have access to a phone - yes a phone, you will need to call people - email, and packages similar to word and excel. Well just skip on to the exciting stuff.
In my previous blog post I compared SEO to Rugby Union (yes, really). And just like a game of rugby you need a game plan. What sort of links do you want? Where do you want them from? Where do you want them pointing to? What do you hope to achieve? If your sole reason for building links is that you saw it was a good idea on a blog or a forum then you need to sit down and work out exactly what you want, and how you're going to go about doing it.
Lots of lists. In fact, here is a list of 59 lists you should have to build links.
Twitter is a fantastic link building resource. Using Tweetdeck or Hootsuite you are able to compile and follow lists to see what the buzz is within your particular industry. Followerwonk is an invaluable tool for seeking out influencers in pretty much any niche.
It's pretty much personal choice which one you want to use, but the point is you will need one, for two reasons. Firstly, SEO is a fast changing industry. One change overnight can seriously affect how you go about your business.
Secondly, you need to stay abreast of all the latest developments, trends and buzz in your or your clients industries. There is no doubt that content is king, but unless you know what's hot in your industry how will you know what content people will be interested in?
Open Site Explorer
Open Site Explorer is part of the seoMOZ suite of products, and one you have to pay for – although there is a free version available. Open Site Explorer allows you to analyse the back links of any web page. Not only does this mean you can see who is linking to you, but more importantly you can see who is linking to your competitors. If, say, The BBC, The Guardian or The Telegraph are linking to a competitor, why are they linking to a competitor?
There are other packages out there that do the same job as OSE, but to my mind the user-friendliness of the package makes it a winner.
Or at least access to a clients analytics. Which key words are generating traffic? Which words are generating conversions? And where are people coming to your site from? With all this information you can look to push the keywords that matter for you. They may not have the highest search volume, but if these terms are the ones that convert then there is a great place to start.
To create great content, you need great tools. There are loads of both free and paid for packages out there. Here are some of the tools popular with my fellow Lab Rats.
- Adobe Suite – The daddy of all image editing software.
- GIMP – Similar to photoshop, a free image manipulation tool.
- Polyvore – A must have for any fashion clients, create collages and mood boards.
- Easel.ly – A free web based application to make simple infographics and visualisations.
- Infogr.am – Another free infographic creator. Unlike Easel.ly allows you to create charts using real data.
The Final Push
To my mind Gorkana is a must have for any serious UK based SEO. For those who don't know, it is an online journalist and publication database. Designed specifically for the public relations industry, it crosses over massively into link building.
There isn't a link builder or even a brand out there, who wouldn't want positive media coverage and to be featured in any of the national newspapers, or relevant trade publications. Nobody outside of Google knows exactly how many .blogspot guest posts a direct followed link from The Sun is worth, but the answer is a lot. But with the up-to-date details of the relevant people at these publications – be it journalists or web editors – then you stand a much greater chance of getting these Golden Links.
The Most Important Part
Access to these tools is all well and good, but you need people who can use them to make the most out of them. Search Labs prides itself on our employees and the team includes people with backgrounds in PR, social media, design, journalism, web development and event management to name just a few.