Link Building Strategy Breakdown – Let’s get Link Building

When it comes time to build some quality links from real sites operated by individuals and companies we all tend to run away from it. Yes, it is much easier to build links with blog commenting and with article marketing, but if you want the links that will get you to rank you need real live links, and the only way to get them is to implement a proper link building strategy. In order to do that we are going to summarize what a link building strategy should have from the start to the end. So prepare yourself for a bit longer post, but trust me, it’s worth the read.

First Things First – Understand Your Link Profile

We already talked and explain what link profile is in one of the previous posts, this time we are going to focus on a specific thing. To start getting some authority links to your website you first need to understand why someone would want to link to you, if you don’t know that you will have a hard time convincing people to give you a link.

Some of the reasons why people would want to link to you include:

linkbait generator

Great and useful content

Valuable resource

Great services or product

Maybe you can provide something in return (like a guest post or a standard partnership)

Bottom line, you need to find a reason or no one will want to link to you. The next step is to understand what type of sites already link to you if any. We are not talking about your posts on article directories or your profile or comment links; we are talking about real websites. So this may take some time but it is necessary as it may give you an insight into what type of websites to pursue first for you link building campaign.

You can do the old fashioned search by using advanced operators in Google,


This will give you a smaller list of websites and maybe you should start from there. If you want a larger number of links you can use Yahoo site explorer or Open Site Explorer. So once you have the list of websites that link to you note down the following:

What type of sites are linking to you

Why they link to you

What anchor text they use if any

And maybe the most important part, do they link to your competitors and to which ones.

Second Step of your Link Building Strategy – Researching Competitor Links

Now we are getting somewhere. We know who links to us and why, now we need to understand who links to our competitors and why. The principle is the same, use Open Site Explorer to see your competitor backlinks and anchor texts and compare it to yours. Identify first the domains that link both to you and your competitors, that will narrow down the type of websites that are more likely to give you a link.


At the same time by doing competitor research you will see how many links your competition has and of what quality. That will give you some idea on what you need to accomplish in order to beat the competition. The last thing is that you will be able to find plenty of link opportunities just by looking at your competitor backlinks. You can find plenty of websites that will easily give you a link, start with the ones that don’t link to you but link to several of your competitors.

Link Building Freestyle – Finding More Linking Opportunities

The third part is finding runaway link opportunities using keyword search or following the trails. You can start off with relevant keywords to your niche and expand from there. In my case I would go from SEO to OnPage SEO to Website Design and even to Website maintenance, domain hosting and domain resellers. You can branch out to any relevant category you like, start with the most relevant and work your way down, not the other way around. The same goes for the quality of websites you are aiming for, start with the links of the highest quality and work your way down.

Why not the other way around is a good question. First of all, you can easily come back around later and ask for links again once you are more popular in the SERP or social channels, but it will be easier and faster to gain ranks and traffic if you get links from high traffic websites with good link popularity than from dozens of low level links, that is why we are focusing on quality link building this time around. Also, even one link from an authority website can be a leverage, you can say “Hey, SEOmoz is already linking to me, that is some proof of quality, right?” you get the picture.

blogroll linksThere are two parts to finding new link opportunities; the first one is going through the websites you already noted down, competitors, link opportunities, already linking websites and see who else they link to. There is a good chance to find 3 times more websites just by following the direct link trail. I mean at least bloggers use their blogroll, right?

The second option is of course keyword search and even using advanced operators. We already said how you can branch out from your main keyword into all directions, now for the part on how to use it!

Without getting technical, my goal is for you to understand everything I say, I’m going to explain the easiest method, but this may be a bit slower method. The manual search in Google can be done using one simple keyword with the mentioned branching out like this:

SEO – SEO Services – Affordable SEO Services – Affordable SEO Services Australia – Affordable SEO Services Brisbane and plenty of other combination’s already present within these few words. I guess branching out is not a problem, the problem might be finding the starter keyword, let’s use travel for example as I have been working on some travel site recently so here are my starter keywords of which each one can be expanded into long tail in endless combination’s:

Travel – vacation – hotels – accommodation – villas – resorts – airlines – flights – cruises – holiday – cruises – camping – campers – backpackers – journey – diving – beach – surfing – snorkel – tourist – tours and the list goes on… You can use tools like Google Adwords keyword Tool to the WordTracker Keyword Suggestion Tool for this or you can brainstorm them yourself.


Each one of these keywords can bring you countless number of potential links.

Specific Link Building

The third part should be mixed with targeting specific websites. You already figured out what type of sites to go for and which of them are more likely to give you a link. So use the keywords you managed to find in combination with the type of sites you are looking for, examples:

Travel blog – travel library – travel organization – travel membership and for these you can use advanced search operators to help sort through countless links that will rank for these keywords without much relevance, Google isn’t perfect you know…

Travel” or if you want to search for a specific country look for “travel”. You can look for websites with “links” or “resource” page the same way: “travel inurl:links” – “travel”. Or you can simply use the advanced link prospecting tool by Ontolo that will give you an amazing list of search queries for only 15 seconds worth of effort, which is my suggestion.

Link Building Plan

You have the know-how and you have a list of websites to contact for links. We already explained how to approach webmasters for links, so the only thing you need for you link building plan to be complete is the priority, but we already said to work your way from top to the bottom with quality link opportunities, but you also need the priority of your keywords and landing pages. We already talked about it a bit, but will explain in more detail in the next post.

The last part is setting a goal for your link building campaign. In order to measure you link building campaign success you must have a goal, otherwise it’s pointless. So what can your link building goal be? Well you can go for increasing your websites rank to top 5, top 3 or number one. You can specifically aim to increase your traffic, through search or through links on high traffic websites. You can plain simply create a goal of building 30 high quality links, but that on its own isn’t a good goal, something like increasing your conversion rates is a good goal. So come up with one and you are lock and loaded and your link building campaign can start in a major way.

I know it sounds like a lot of work and it is at first, when you get some mileage you will do it without even thinking about it. For some of you the best solution might be to hire professional link building services, but for most of you implementing this link building strategy into your future internet marketing goal may be the key to success.

About The Author

is the founder and CEO of Practical SEO and also a passionate blogger. All of his free time he dedicates to his Practical SEO blog and giving free advice as well as participating in the blogging community.

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18 Response to Link Building Strategy Breakdown – Let’s get Link Building

  1. Hey! Your Karma Hit my Dogma – A Steve Scott Weekly Roundup on April 23, 2011

    [...] Link-Building:  Zarko is a great SEO.  Link-building is an important topic.  Some of the strategies of link-building from SEO’s vary.  Some are very dogmatic.  Here Zarko shares with us some of his link building strategies. [...]

  2. Johanna @ on April 26, 2011

    Hi Zarko,
    I think your link building strategy steps here are great! I haven’t gone far yet on your instructions here, but so far I’m happy I get to understand the principles behind them.
    Will be bookmarking this page, if you don’t mind.
    Thank you for the tips!

  3. Zarko on April 26, 2011

    Hi Johanna, thanks for commenting and reading the post. Just take it slow, one step at a time, there is no rush with link building. Concentrate on your content and when you think you can move forward and spend more time start with high aim and don’t get discouraged if you get rejected, what goes around comes around :)

  4. Usman@FirstHosting on April 27, 2011

    Hi, Zarko!

    It might be my first comment, but I do like to have one.

    As I would like to say that, we really need to prove our self to get linked by people for this we need to work extra handsomely so that people trust and link us, and feel good to link to useful content.
    Simply I should agree with you.


  5. Zarko on April 27, 2011

    Yeah, getting link by others on their own free will requires trust, authority and great content, so build up :)

  6. Finally Fast on April 29, 2011

    This is a great post! I have been working with a couple people lately and have been tossing around the link building idea. Seems some people are not into article marketing and the like, I really dont know why, maybe they just dont have the patience to put together 500 or so quality words on a topic they enjoy and that others may too. Anyway, I appreciate your work and I will look to employ some of these in my future efforts. Thanks again, I look forward to reading more!

  7. Zarko on April 30, 2011

    Well, the thing about article marketing is that Google, Matt Cutts especially, doesn’t see it as a quality way of building links. Even when you do it the right way, 500+ word quality article will just get you one link, with all the syndication that you might get consider the fact that people that syndicate article content have no real sites and therefor rarely real visitors, so what it comes down to is mass link building with articles, and Google sees that like a quality loss and sometimes spamming. A few articles here and there won’t hurt you, but I wouldn’t be too crazy about it… there are many different ways to build quality links…

  8. Michael on May 7, 2011

    Link building is very difficult to start with especially to a newbie. I can honestly say that I’m not really good on link building strategy but so far I’m improving I guess. Just want to share, when I started online I thought all paid software are much better than the free ones (like Google keyword tool and free wordtracker), but I proved that I was wrong. It’s just how a person will deal with these tools, nothing can beat enough link building understanding/knowledge anyway.

  9. Zarko on May 7, 2011

    Hi Michael, you’re head on, it doesn’t mater if it is a paid or free tool, a paid or free theme, it just matters how good you use it and if ti works for you. the same goes for everything!

    Keep working on your link building efforts, create a plan for your website and stick to it, after a while, measure your results and re-implement the strategy with tweaks :)

  10. ery@building link popularity on May 8, 2011

    Hey Zarko
    Link Building is very important factor to get high ranking on major search engine like google or yahoo. I’m really interesting to read your post about link building because I think I need to learn more about link building strategy. I hope all people who want to learn about link building must read about it. Thanks for sharing, it’s very useful information.


  11. Damon@Settlement Company on May 10, 2011

    Hello Zarko,
    I just requested your keyword bible and am looking forward to it. I consider myself an experienced novice when it comes to SEO and blogging. Although when I started the only linking strategy I knew was to read blogs from established SEO guys and leave a comment on them. I was able to quickly rank my site to a PR3 within a few months. However a much more beneficial thing that is rarely talked about was the education I received and continue to receive by actually reading the articles, bookmarking and frequenting the ones I was impressed with and then getting an opportunity to network with many of the bloggers.
    To me, that is the hidden but very powerful benefit of blog commenting.

  12. Zarko on May 10, 2011

    Hi Damon,

    you are absolutely right, nothing to add here :) Blog commenting is about learning and networking, meeting new people, this is the power of commenting, and not the backlinks we will get!

  13. Wayne Barker@Hallam on May 12, 2011

    Hey there Zarko,

    Great breakdown on link building there. i found that one of the best ways to build links is to give somebody something they need rather than something they want. If they want it they could also probably do without it. This can be achieved with well thought out widgets or information. Make them feel like they are winnig and getting the best deal rather than the other way round.

  14. Zarko on May 12, 2011

    Hi Wayne,

    yeah, that is how to go about it, giving them something they need. that steps into the real of linkbaiting, but hey, that is what we all want :)

  15. Charley@Oral health tips on June 14, 2011

    I will definitely follow your link building tips and see how it works for me.

  16. Adrian@Sheds on June 19, 2011

    I find it hard to start a link building strategy because I need to see first what works for me. But for sure, once I’ve proved something works, I can use it again and again. I might use some tools above!

  17. Best Practical SEO post of 2011 on December 29, 2011

    [...] Link Building Strategy Breakdown – Let’s get Link Building [...]

  18. Must Have SEO Link Building Checklist + Infographic on April 28, 2012

    [...] everything else, link building can be a very easy task if you have a good link building strategy in place, a plan. So with the checklist I had in mind, a simplified version for DIY SEO’s, you [...]

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