Monday, August 4, 2008

Thematic Link Building - Link Building Strategies & Tactics

Link building, an exercise where the webmaster/ link building campaign manager attempts to get a large quantity of good quality inbound links to a website, is undoubtedly among the most important activities in a search engine optimization (SEO) campaign. In fact, the result of link building efforts could well be the tie-breaker for search engines when ranking two equally competent (in terms of content relevance) search engine friendly websites.

Many webmasters/ SEO professionals ignore the good quality aspect of link building and focus only on the quantity objective. As a result, they try to obtain links from any website that is willing to give a link. However, as search engines get smarter and their ranking algorithms more stringent, this approach can be quite counter-productive, or at best, totally ineffective. Therefore, in the overall gamut of link building, the PageRank of the linking page & site relevance plays a vital role. For example, one link from a PR3 link page could be equivalent to 15 links from a PR0 link page (an empirical statement without a mathematical basis). Likewise, a few links from sites that are topically very relevant are worth lots more than hundreds of links from completely irrelevant sites. Therefore, it is very crucial to focus on developing and executing a thematic link building campaign as part of the SEO efforts for a site.

As the name suggests, thematic link building is the process of obtaining links from sites that are thematically relevant with the recipient’s website. Obviously, this involves a lot more research effort and is quite labor intensive than just approaching any webmaster for a link.

I’ve listed below a couple of approaches in a series of steps to execute such a link building campaign. Note however, that such a campaign is slow and requires immense patience. Depending on where you are located, and the number of links you require to make a difference to your SEO campaign, the cost of following these approaches can be prohibitive (in terms of time and the effort versus result ratio). It will make sense, in such cases, to opt for offshore link building companies and professionals to execute the campaign, though it must be done with clear guidelines and agreement on the process to be followed and the quality considerations.

Approach 1 to thematic link building:

1. Analyze the objective, theme and content of the website for which link building is being done (parent website).
2. Shortlist the keywords revolving around the parent website’s theme.
3. Post a query in the search engines for the shortlisted keyword one by one.
4. Collate the top 100 websites showing up for these queries.
5. Analyze each of these websites and determine the best possible way of a possible inclusion of the parent website on the shortlisted website. This could be through a link addition on their resource page/ posting an article & getting the attribution for the same/ by posting a comment on their website.
6. Send a customized e-mail to the webmaster requesting for an addition of the link to your site(If the addition of the link is possible by submitting of a form or posting a comment, then you can skip this step).
7. Follow up with a reference to the original contact if you don’t hear back. However, don’t follow up more than thrice if you don’t get a response; this is a clear indication that the person on the other end is not interested.

Be careful in the selection of websites to be approached, you should not contact a direct competitor’s website prospecting for a link.

Approach 2 to thematic link building:

1. Analyze the objective, theme and content of the website for which link building is being done (parent website).
2. Visit Google search engine & using the “related” command, search for sites that are related to the parent website. (E.g. related: This would show the websites that are thematically relevant to that of the parent website Note that most of these websites would be direct business competitors to the parent website.
3. Collate these details in a spreadsheet.
4. Approach every website that is not a direct business competitor with the possible resource inclusion option.
5. If they are direct business competitors then visit & enter these domains one by one
6. Goto the “inlinks” tab & select the option “Entire Website” & “Except from this domain”
7. This will show the external links to the shortlisted website
8. Save this using the “download TSV” option on
9. Approach these websites with the possible resource inclusion option.
10. Note that after step no. 5 you can also use the “link” command on Google e.g. link:, this would provide lesser number of results OR you can use the website for analyzing the backlinks of the shortlisted websites for Google, Yahoo & MSN.
11. After step no. 10, visit every website one by one for understanding the relevance & theme of the website and then proceed to step no. 11.

The two approaches mentioned above are not mutually exclusive and you can mix-and-match the steps to get optimal results.

We would also recommend that you also actively pursue “one-to-many” link building strategies such as press release distribution or content/ functionality syndication, viral marketing that are scalable are likely to yield faster results with link building.

Sujit S. Nair is a certified Google Adwords Professional. As Business Manager of On Target Marketing Solutions, he is actively involved in helping small and medium sized businesses in India get the most out of their SEM (both SEO & paid search marketing) campaigns.
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Seo-Link baiting

Link baiting is perhaps the most challenging means of increasing incoming links to a website and webmasters are constantly working on increasing incoming links to their website via link baiting.

Link baiting is the process of increasing incoming links to a website by creating interesting content, useful tools or by any another means possible.

Link baiting is perfectly ‘legal ‘and should not be confused with paying other webmasters to link to a website as link baiting is purely voluntary.

To better understand link baiting; let’s assume that a SEO website has introduced a new tool that calculates incoming links to a website. A webmaster can choose to make the tool free to use and allow other webmasters to copy-paste code for the tool.

Whenever a webmaster displays the tool on his website, the tool will have an outgoing link to the website from which it was taken. In essence, the creator of the tool would have baited a link from another website.

Link baiting can be carried out using content, images, videos and other multimedia content. Link baiting is divided into the following categories based on the method used:
Information based link baiting

Websites that offer rare content, tips and tricks, and information usually attract a lot of incoming links from websites. Well researched and insightful content is usually referenced by other websites and information based link baiting is one of the simplest methods of link baiting.

News based link baiting
Breaking news is one of the simplest ways to generate incoming links, by putting up breaking news and information on new developments a webmaster can bait websites into linking to his/her website. Websites usually link to press releases and breaking news articles as citations.

Humour and cartoons for link baiting
Humorous write ups and funny cartoons are fast becoming a popular means of link baiting. Blog entries and other social networking sites love quoting a humours quote or cartoon, and most webmasters are inclined to acknowledge the source of the quote or cartoon.

Using tools for link baiting
As mentioned in the beginning of the article, a webmaster can create a small widget (tool) that will be used by other webmasters and will add an incoming link to the website. Search engine optimization websites allow webmasters to display the PageRank of their website by copy-pasting a small code snippet. The tool does display the PageRank in graphic format but also baits an incoming link. Tool ‘hooks’ are fast becoming a popular way to carry out link baiting as the tools are usually updated and provide continuous utility to the webmaster.

Controversial content and link baiting
There is a saying ‘there is no publicity like bad publicity’. Sometimes, websites hosting controversial content get a lot of attention and are often quoted or cited by other websites. Apart from providing food for thought, controversial content is becoming a popular method for link baiting. It is important to remember that webmasters are coming up with newer techniques to carry out link building everyday.

For more search engine optimization tips and link baiting technique
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