Link Developers and the Link Building Cycle

    November 15, 2006

Better. Stronger. Faster. It’s important to constantly redefine link training techniques.

Understand the full value of links. Simplify the link value technique. After you have the fundamental understanding of placing a value on a link (which you should constantly revisit) – here’s some information to simplify it even further. I knew someday I’d have the opportunity to reference Edward Deming’s quality management ideas from my business school days.

The Quality Management Link Building Cycle

1. Build a list of potential link request sites

I’m making the assumption you know about “link building starting points” – you’ve figured out how to identify potential places to buy, borrow, beg, or barter for links (comptetitor backlinks, google directory, hubfinder, linkharvester etc. etc.) Build a list of potential candidates to audit with the rest of the cycle.

2. Pick a site from the list.

Pick your first site, and start the cycle by clicking on the site.

3. Is it a scraper site?

Yes, it is slathered with ads, and offers no real value – Return to step 2

No – Move to step 3

4. Check their backlinks – Are they legit?

**A lot of additional training time should be spent on this evaluation

1. Yahoo site explorer – handy extension

Yes, their backlinks are mainly on-topic, and there are more than a dozen decent sites linking to them. See step 4.

No, the site is brand new, has no links, or is a part of a ring of mortgage, real estate, or poker sites despite being about baby clothes. Return to step 2.

5. Outbound link evaluation.

Tool – Outbound link bookmarklet

Installation – drag this to your browser toolbar.

Are there more than 150ish links?

Yes – Back to step 2 buddy

No – Next question

Are the outbound links on-topic?

Yes – Proceed to step 5

No – They’re all payday loans, viagra, and bankruptcy collectors – Back to step 2 chief.

6. Determine the value of the request – How much time is it worth for your e-mail?

Very strong link – take your time these are few and far between, and quite valuable. Do whatever you can to increase the likelyhood of a response, and/or successful link. Offer cash.

Strong link – Spend a little time on the site and personalize the message. Offer a donation.

Good link – Spend time on the site and personalize the message.

Meh’ link – You got this far, break out your link request draft and customize it for a quick send.

Send mail –

Back to step 2 buck-o.

Don’t Beat Your Employees

Now – if you’re an employer, please don’t expect your employees can keep up the 3 minute cycle for longer than an hour without jumping out of a 13th story window after a week. Teach them the process and reward smart people who pick it up with flex time – if you don’t, your young grasshopper will be jumping along quite shortly. There’s no shortage of jobs for good link builder/ SEO types at this point.

Let your employees spend A LOT of time reading about links and how to understand them better. The process is mundane, but the success rates improve if they understand the intracacies. Each of the six steps in the process can be studied with a level of detail that Deming would truly appreciate to improve the results of the process.

More recent link advice goodness:

Jim’s link commandments


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Todd Malicoat aka Stuntdubl made his first horrible looking website full of animated .gifs in 1997, and after fours years of failure and experimentation ended up in the world of SEO and internet marketing in early 2001. He is currently an independent marketing consultant from the SEO school of thought. Todd earned a bachelors of business adminstration from Northwood University in 2003 while running an web design and consulting firm Meta4creations, LLC. Todd is a speaker at both Webmasterworld and Search Engine Strategies conferences.