More often than expected, many link building strategies fail and leave people wondering why the strategy was unsuccessful. These failures are most commonly attributed to improper execution of link building. Successful link building strategies are an important element to search engine optimization campaigns (SEO) and therefore proper execution of link building strategies will ensure success with SEO efforts. In this post we will give you some insight from one of the top internet marketing companies as to why many link building strategies commonly fail.
With link building there are three main elements that typically are the main factors within a link building strategy, but often these three elements are commonly misaligned or overlooked. These three elements are the link building strategy, content strategy, and link bait. People often confuse or misalign these concepts which can lead to failure of the overall link building strategy.
The content strategy is the outline or road map to creating great pieces of content, which can be used as part of your link building strategy. Your link building strategy is how you actually plan to get links. Sometimes the content from your content strategy will generate links by itself naturally, but this does not necessarily make it part of your link building strategy. Link bait is a piece of content created with the intentions of solely getting links from it, but it is not a part of your content strategy and is more a part of your link building strategy. People often confuse the content from the content strategy as link bait, but these are two different pieces of content usually. Getting these two confused can set your strategy up for failure because each of these strategies serve different questions and audiences.
To successfully execute your link building strategy you should create a content strategy that includes link bait, but is not all link bait and has a good mix of link bait and content. Also decide which pieces of actual content you can leverage to build links. Also focus your link building strategy on getting links from sources above and beyond the sources that your content can gain. Also coordinating with your social strategy can further help leverage these efforts. Essentially it all comes down to integration between all the elements of a link building strategy along with additional strategies such as social or traditional marketing.
Forgetting The “Strategy” Element
Although this sounds like a no brainer, many people often do not fully plan out or execute their strategy. Executing several campaigns without integration among campaigns prevents your efforts from being a strategy. Also many do not have a set road map of how they plan to execute the strategy because they are too focused on launching a campaign. Creating a distinct course of direction with goals and purpose of the strategy is essential to making your strategy successful. When doing so it is important to consider the following:
- Who: Who is accountable for the project? Who is the audience?
- What: What is the purpose? What are the goals?
- When: When will it be executed?
- Where: Where does the strategy fit in or integrate into the grand scheme?
- Why: Why is the strategy being pursued for both the user and business perspectives?
- How: How will you reach the goals? How will you track it?
Like any strategy formation it is essential to know all the reasons for the strategy and how it will be implemented. This will give you a clear view of how the strategy can be successful. Also it is important to monitor and track elements of the strategy to make sure all aspects are performing properly. By doing so, you can find elements that are underperforming and make adjustments of need be and possible. Combining all of these planning elements will help ensure that your strategy is successful over the long run.
Lack of Defined Goals
All strategies will have visions and intentions but without goals there are not quantifiable measurements for success of the strategy. Lack of goals can prevent even well planned strategies to achieve success. Goals should be broken up into short-term and long-term goals with specific numbers or objectives in order to give the strategy direction. Allow your short-term goals to be stepping stones towards your long-term goals, which will essentially give you a path of goals with actionable milestones. If you see that your goals are not being met early on it could be an indication that one of the elements of the strategy is underperforming and hindering reaching the long-term goals. With milestone goals you are able to identify where something may have gone wrong and adjust accordingly without having to guess where in the timeline your strategy started to drop off. Also having goals based on the S.M.A.R.T concept will give a solid outline and realistic direction for your goals. S.M.A.R.T goals are defined as:
Lack of Proper Tracking
With any link building strategy the team members involved will come with a way of counting their links, whether it be manually or through automated tools. However, simply counting the number of links is not the only element that should be considered with your project tracking. In addition to the number of links your strategy is receiving, it is also important to know the following:
- What are the links doing for rankings?
- What is the anchor text spread of the links?
- How have the incoming links fluctuated over the project?
These elements of tracking are commonly overlooked which can make it difficult to measure the effectiveness and ROI of your link building strategy when you are not tracking them over time. Also you need to share these results with everyone on the team so that everyone is up to date and has a proper understanding of how the project is performing.
The proper method to tracking links starts with pulling all the data and analyzing it based on the three criteria posted above. Also after defining the project goals, it is important to determine KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for measuring if the goals have been met. Monitoring these KPIs through analytics or third party tools will help to properly execute the process. Also it is important to consistently analyze the data to monitor the performance of the project in a real-time. Convert the data into visual representations to share among team members so that everyone can understand the current state of the link building strategy without divulging too much time into trying to understand the data. Simply put, consolidate it and make it easily understandable for everyone involved. From there draw conclusions about the strategy’s success and share these with the whole team. Compare newer data with historical results of the strategy to understand how the strategy is progressing over time. Also it may be necessary to reassess the strategy and determine if any changes should be made. If changes need to be made, fully plan them out and make sure they can still be integrated with the other marketing channels and initiatives.
Wrapping It Up
These common pitfalls account for a large number of strategy failures. To be successful with a strategy it is important to realize the difference between the content strategy, link building strategy, and link bait. From there create solid road maps for each element while integrating them all together to maximize the potential of each element. Great content alone will not get the most links, as well as great link bait alone will not get the most links. Incorporating great content strategies and link bait into your link building strategy will be most effective, especially when integrating this strategy into your social and traditional marketing strategies to leverage the power of each other. Also it is imperative that you fully form a strategy and consider all the elements; who, what, when, where, why, and how. There is a reason why these concepts are taught so early on in life, because they allow for proper planning. Incorporating these elements into strategies will give you a thorough direction and well thought out strategy that does not overlook any elements. Also it is important to have defined measurable goals for your strategy. Short-term goals that are milestones for long-term goals will allow you to properly measure success at all points of your link building strategy. Last but not least you need to track your progress properly while considering all the elements of successful tracking.
While many people often assume link building to be a strategy to simply get links and increase search engine rankings, ultimately these results are aimed towards increasing conversions in the long run. You are in business to sell products or services to make a profit, not to top the search engine rankings. Incorporating your goals, strategy elements, strategy initiatives, and properly tracking your link building progress will help you create a solid link building strategy that will avoid the common pitfalls that most failing strategies tend to overlook and lead to conversions. Let us know your thoughts on this and can you think of any other common pitfalls?