Along the never-ending journey to page one, business owners quickly stumble upon another dynamic player to add to their arsenal of marketing strategies as they battle to “get found.”
White-hat link building is essential to upward mobility in search engine rankings, but it’s a delicate area that requires dedication and finesse. Simply put, there is no easy button.
Gone are the days of black hat backlinking shortcuts, cluttering the internet with spam and false leads. Today’s robust technology has our top search engines closely watching, on the hunt for quality over quantity.
One simple misstep can be the kiss of death for any web page, with little to no resurrection opportunities or “lesson learned” warnings or wrist slaps.
What does this mean for business owners trying to improve their SEO?
How do you effectively establish strong backlinks without serious risk or substantial investment?
What is link building and why does my business need it?
Link building is the process of getting websites other than your own (external pages) to link directly to a page on your website. These hyperlinks develop a combined authority as search engines crawl the web looking for connections between legitimate businesses, like-minded interests and similar pursuits.
High-quality links can send a clear message to the search engines that your web page is a trustworthy source.
By giving their “vote of approval,” they’ve taken a position beside you to confirm your authority to the search engines, which ultimately improves your rankings as they move you towards the top in confidence that you’ll deliver strong, valuable content to information seekers.
Quality content on your website isn’t enough for search engines to index your business properly to rank well with relevant keyword searches.
The endorsement from your peers (other respected websites) is the key to giving search engines peace of mind when they determine your placement in organic search results.
How do I build links for my business?
Out with the bad, in with the good. Black hat. White hat. White hat link building refers to SEO strategies that rely on authentic human connections, appropriately following search engine rules and policies on their climb to the top. This is where the dedication and finesse come into play for your business.
We consistently preach authenticity and genuine interest across social media channels.
Link building operates no differently.
Taking the time and energy to develop mutually beneficial partnerships with other influencers and authorities in your arena translates to backlinks that are grounded in trust and mutual, natural interest in the success of each party.
SEO isn’t free and it doesn’t come overnight! Fortunately, there are a variety of tools out there that follow white hat techniques and can help you identify popular content, influencers and other opportunities for legitimate link building that will safely navigate your business to page one.
6 tools to organize your link building outreach campaigns
Keeping up with all of your outbound efforts to develop authentic relationships that may convert to quality link building opportunities over time can be an overwhelming tasks.
It’s far too easy to let an opportunity slip through your fingers and down through the cracks when you’re working your SEO from multiple angles every day.
Followupthen.com: A free and easy tool that uses your email as a trigger for bringing tasks back to your front burner at just the right time, this reminder system can help you clean out your inbox, simplify your to do list and stay on top of your communication with potential link building relationships.
Get started by composing an email with [any time]@followupthen.com in the To: (remind yourself), Cc: (remind yourself and a friend) or Bcc: (remind yourself without bothering your friend) fields. Formats like tomorrow, nexttuesday and even every1stmonday work as well!
Yesware: Designed for data-driven sales teams, Yesware has a powerful email automation and analytics tool that can be a great organizer for outbound link building campaigns.
Track who opens and clicks on your emails, determine whether it was opened on desktop or mobile and quickly check the status of sent messages. Schedule emails for auto-send later on, set reminders and plan automated follow ups with the mail merge feature.
Ninja Outreach: A robust marketing tool, Ninja Outreach can help you organize your efforts to find new link building opportunities and develop blogger outreach campaigns.
Find influencers and like-minded companies to spark new relationships and target relevant Twitter and Instagram users, driving home to sortable metrics that give you exactly what information you need right when you need it.
Raven Tools: An all-around top notch SEO tool that excels in the art of custom reporting, Raven can organize and report on your outbound link building campaigns, providing stellar insight into your progress, setbacks and project status.
With the capacity to hold and store your entire outbound efforts, this tool can keep your business perfectly on track as you build quality relationships.
BuzzStream: Designed around the idea of building “buzz” for your brand, this tool manages your team from a central database that organizes emails, tweets and other conversations for easy access, allowing you to identify and prioritize your most influential relationships.
Build press lists and pitches, develop outbound campaigns and improve your placement online with software heavily focused on your link building efforts.
Inkybee: Organized into six client research power categories (Search, Discover, Save, Twitter, Segment, Report) and six digital outreach power categories (Target, Contact, Track, Monitor, Measure,Traffic), this tool is marketed as a “suite of research, discovery and outreach tools to audit and understand your client’s sectors to help you run successful digital outreach campaigns.”
Continually scouring the web for new influencer opportunities, this tool can support your efforts to develop quality back links by discovering new outlets for your message. With white label reporting, a Google Analytics plug in and relationship tracker, this tool is a powerful ally to your growth campaigns.
4 tools to find potential link building opportunities
MozBar: Moz SEO Toolbar for Firefox & Chrome: Revolutionize your web searching with MozBar, Moz’s free SEO toolbar that provides key metrics on the backlinking authority and ranking opportunity for different pages as you explore the web.
This on-the-go immediate access to the information you need to identify the key relationships that will be most likely to improve your ranking with a quality link can remove hours and hours of tedious research.
Ahrefs: Backlink Checker & SEO Reports: Championed as “your turnkey marketing laboratory,” Ahrefs hosts a complete suite of social media and SEO tools, including their Site Explorer.
An overall view on the quality and quantity of the links you are getting, this tool can quickly qualify a potential domain, while also letting you know exactly where your links are coming from and how they are affecting your ranking in organic search engine results.
HARO/Help a Reporter Out: On the hunt for free publicity? Look no further! Help a Reporter Out, affectionately shortened to HARO, is a massive repository for reporters searching for experts and authorities to provide insight and support to new articles and projects.
Subscribe to HARO as a potential source and receive real-time media opportunities straight from journalists and reporters working to meet deadlines. Updates can be sent via daily emails or even text messages. Set yourself up to be first in line when the media comes calling!
BuzzSumo: Find the most shared content and key influencers in your marketplace with this robust search tool, driving you to the content that performs best and the relationships that will convert consistently.
Identify top authors, trending topics and develop motivated outreach campaigns that connect you with the best opportunities to build quality links for your business.
4 tools to research and discover top influencers
Top influencers are your fast track to gaining more traffic and authority. You’ll also likely pick up some new backlinks too.
But the ultimate goal is to grow your business – that’s what really matters.
Think of it like this:
Trusted authorities in their industries, top-ranking influencers have loyal audiences virtually hanging on their every word.
Their endorsement is as good as gold and better, and they’re always seeking authentic resources and tools that will genuinely improve their followers’ livelihood and business.
Klear: This tool makes their intentions crystal “klear” with a “we measure the social web” tagline that champions their ability to develop smarter marketing as a social intelligence tool.
Their influencer search engine ranks by Celebrities, Power Users, Casual and Novice, scoring them by relevance, popularity and reach, so you can identify and prioritize your outbound campaigns with private lists you can save, filter and export.
ClearVoice: Marketed as the “content ecosystem,” this tool focuses on developing strong collaborations that produce powerful engagement opportunities.
Looking at your brand marketing as a science, they’ve created a community of diverse creatives that connect and open avenues to top brands, publishers and experts, converting consistently to improve your online ranking and web presence.
Check out their IdeaLab approach to designing outbound campaigns with a “whiteboard” feel for planning.
Mention: A real time portal that monitors brand, industry and leader mentions in over 40 languages, this tool allows you to engage and reply in a variety of social media platforms right within the tool.
Score top influencers by keyword mention, organizing your experts, potential brand ambassadors and your VIP community for maximized potential. Learn more about this tool on another recent UK Linkology article on top social media tools.
Little Bird: Map out business insiders and top influencers as you discover new opportunities to promote your brand with quality, relevant relationships. Report on your influencer marketing, compare yourself to the competition and quickly organize thought leaders to identify trends that will convert time and time again.
2 tools to monitor your incoming backlinks
Working hard to establish strong relationships that convert into high quality backlinks is a marathon, not a race.
But what about those bad links that could potentially chip away at your progress?
A bad link can be toxic to your SEO and it’s imperative that you hone in on troublemakers before they impact your web presence.
What is a bad link?
Be on the lookout for unfocused directories with low criteria or expectations for new listings, ingenuine blog comments with spam links in the text, or unrelated, irrelevant sites that have linked to your business for reasons unknown.
Still not sure?
Use one of these tools to monitor your incoming links:
Monitor Backlinks: This tool can quickly report on any new links back to your business so that you can immediately disavow bad links before they have an opportunity to do any damage to your ranking and SEO.
URL Profiler: Another powerful backlink auditor, this tool can report on all backlinks with all of the metrics you need to make an informed decision on whether or not they are helping or hurting your business.
Majestic and Ahrefs both have their own index of backlinks, whereas Monitor Backlinks and URL Profiler pull in backlink data from other services.
Monitor Backlinks comes into it’s own as a notification tool, which will alert you to new backlinks.
Ahrefs recently added a feature that is similar to this, but Monitor Backlinks is built for that specific purpose.
URL Profiler is a software based tool, so it runs from your computer unlike the other tools mentioned above. It excels at auditing backlinks & content, particularly because the large amount of data it can pull in.
3 tools to explore your organic search rankings
Looking for tools that can report on your business ranking after you’ve done all of the heavy lifting to create quality backlinks?
Many of the tools we’ve already mentioned have rank reporting features and functionality built in (SEOProfiler, SEMrush and Ahrefs to name a few).
If those tools aren’t in your link building arsenal or marketing budget, consider adding these tools to your strategy.
Advanced Web Ranking (Cloud Version): Accessible on-the-go, set reporting for daily, weekly or on demand updates to stay on top of your business rankings when it suits you best.
With a powerfully compatible Developer API, users can securely integrate and sync other client programs with AWR data. Known for constant improvements and updates to functionality and features, this tool always operates ahead of the curve.
Authority Labs: Automate daily reporting and SEO tracking on keyword rankings within local and global engines for granular results that identify actionable areas for improvement.
Unlimited users and no contract obligations allow users to share search results with teams and clients without breaking the bank.
SE Ranking: Cloud based software that even newbies can tackle with ease, this tool promises a fully automated, intuitive interface that produces with 100% accuracy.
Scalable for corporations, SEO agencies and solo webmasters, users can analyze website positions, audit and compare rankings, and report on backlinks and competitors within their all-inclusive “A,B,C easy” portal.
Further reading: For more tools you can use to keep on top of your rankings, check out our post on super effective rank tracking tools.
Your business: the complete package
Successful link building campaigns are crucial to business longevity.
Whether you adopt one of these resources to help find, develop and monitor quality backlinks or set out on your own to foster the relationships that will endorse your business online, spending time and energy on link building is a must in your marketing strategy.
Make your business the complete package with creative SEO and authentic human connections.
Set your business on the path to page one by methodically establishing the partnerships and backlinks that will build your business up as a trusted authority in your marketplace.
Be the tortoise, not the hare!