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How to Get Clients Excited about Link Building

Tom Clark | August 31, 2015

Over the past couple of years, many business owners & marketing managers have become cautious of link building, due to the relentless negative attention the topic has received.

This negative perception is made worse by the fact that our very own clients receive badly written emails every day about ‘Guaranteed Top Rankings’ from various link builders, opening the email with something like “Greetings of the day…”. These type of emails even find their way to my own site and I actually offer SEO!

Over the past couple of years, many business owners & marketing managers have become cautious of link building, due to the relentless negative attention the topic has received.

This negative perception is made worse by the fact that our very own clients receive badly written emails every day about ‘Guaranteed Top Rankings’ from various link builders, opening the email with something like “Greetings of the day…”. These type of emails even find their way to my own site and I actually offer SEO!

Greeting-someone-I-dislike_o_129396

Specializing In On-page SEO Instead

Aware of business owners' perception of link building, I opted to specialize in on-site SEO.

This led to some really great results - I started by auditing my clients’ sites and then progressively working on their metadata and on-site content. It really is amazing how far you can get with just on-page SEO alone.

The problem with this approach is that you ignore offsite ranking signals, and the fact remains that links do matter. By ignoring off-site factors, you paint the picture for clients that everything can be achieved with on-page efforts alone.

What If You Stall in the SERPS?

So what do you do if despite your great onsite SEO results you reach a point where your client’s rankings seem to be stuck? What if you're not able to push into the top 3 for your most desirable keywords?

You can of course diversify and target multiple longtail terms, and likely get the top spot for those new terms. But what if your client is adamant that they need those particular traffic-driving rankings?

You could develop some great onsite content over a long period of time, with the view that natural links will come your way. If the content really is that special, it probably will happen, yet in my experience most blog content produced does not reach that sweet (link earning) spot.

Introducing Link Building Despite Bad Past Experiences

Introducing-_Link_Building

If you work with companies that have been actively pursuing organic traffic for more than 3 years, you will likely stumble across clients that have been burnt in the past.

I personally have worked with many companies that have been led down the wrong path time and time again, resulting in penalization and a team that's lost faith in SEO, particularly link building. Turning this perception around isn’t easy.

If you have some great case studies under your belt, then you will have an easier job because you can show results through organic traffic snapshots and rankings. If your client hasn’t been burnt in the past, but has reached a ceiling with your on-page SEO efforts, then it isn’t as difficult.

One of the best ways to approach the subject of link building is to call a meeting with your client to study the backlink profiles of those competitors who are holding the top spots for the desired keywords.

Studying Competitor Backlinks With Your Client

In preparation for reviewing competitor links with your client you need to be sure the competitors have a superior backlink profile.

To do this, I use a tool like Link Research Tools’ Competitive Landscape Analyzer. I use this tool to load up my client’s site, alongside the top-ranking competitors’ sites. This shows an extensive list of both companies' links, with all the details on which page is linked to, anchor text, IP address, and if the link is follow or nofollow. Order the data by the ‘Powertrust’ column – this shows you the most powerful links at the top, with the weaker links at the bottom.

It should quickly become apparent how your client is weighing in against the competition. More likely than not, you will see that most of the best links are not your client's. This can help light a fire under your client, and can be massively positive for everyone.

Now analyze the stronger links and look for opportunities. You need to work out how viable it is for you and your client to acquire a similar link. If your client is a B2B company, you should discuss the option of turning to their own client-base for link opportunities. If you find that the competition have been producing great content for other blogs and securing links this way, then you have an opportunity.

backlink_analysis

If your client is producing one mediocre blog post a week for the company blog, you can propose the idea of bi-weekly blog posts being pitched to top quality, relevant blogs to acquire a steady flow of new links.

You can target the sites that have been providing follow links and explain that the nofollow links are not usually as beneficial for your site.

It is amazing how many new verticals come out of this process and how creative the link building campaign can turn out.

With this approach, you can find the best prospects for your client, they produce the content, and you review the content in terms of where they link, the quality of content, and targeting the best sites to acquire links from.

Philosophy

About The Author

Tom Clark

Tom Clark is the director of Convert Digital, a Brighton-based SEO & Digital marketing agency. You can learn more about the various services available here.

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