One of the first things we do when we take on a new client is analyze their link profile. You should always do this in the very beginning of an SEO effort. Let’s look at a few situations in a bit more detail:
- A site has 10 thousand links and has a Google Toolbar PR of 4. This is a sure sign of a site that has a lot of low quality links. Note that I did not say “bad” links, but there are very few authoritative links in that stack. You need to go get some.
- A site has a thousand or more pages and 10 thousand links, and all but 100 of the links point to the home page. The focus here probably becomes getting deep links. You need to pick deep pages that are important ones on the site and start getting them links.
- A site has only 100 links, but that includes 10 really good ones. More high quality links will always help, but you also want to make sure you campaign to build up a volume of links.
- A site has just launched, and has minimal links. This is the hardest case of all. You need to build quality links, quantity links, and deep links. You have the full gamut to work on.
These are just a few scenarios that you might encounter. You need to look at other issues too, such as the sources of a sites links. If the links are really strong in the blogger and media community, try to find some other areas to mine to broaden the areas touched on by the site.
Many make the mistake of operating from a single formula for link building. Perhaps they only use social media, or they only use PR, or they build all their links manually. But one size does not fit all. The most common mistake I see relates to scenario 1 above. The site has a lot of links already, and the link builder is out there trying to get 100 more links of similar quality. This just isn’t going to do anything for that site.
You need to understand where the site is before you start, and then pick a plan designed to have an impact. In addition, an initial backlink analysis can provide you some interesting clues as to new opportunities.
I was looking at a site the other day and noticed that they had two nice EDU links. Interestingly enough, they were each give for different reasons, and both reasons represented reasons to go out to the EDU community at large and request links from more similar pages. We are not talking about getting on a student or professor’s profile pages, but honest to goodness editorially given links.
So dig in early and figure out where you starting place is, what is required, and where the opportunities are. Success depends on it.