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Monitoring Links for Linkbuilding

SEO digest

Happy New Year Mozzers!
I hope you all had a good break. I was going to write a 2009 predictions post but then I realised that I have no idea what's going to happen this year. Facebook will go offline? Brazil will go on sale for 13p and Twitter will buy them? God knows. Anyway instead of doing that I decided to write a post with something useful in it.

This post is all about monitoring your site for fresh links and reaching out to those people linking to you to ask them to amend the link for maximum SEO benefit.

One of the biggest problems that we see over and over again with organic linkbuilding and linkbaiting is that the links that you attract are often poorly formatted from an SEO perspective. Either they link to the wrong page or they link using poor anchor text. While these links are definitely worth having since they're strong organic links they would be even more effective with a little bit of tweaking.

So why not ask for the links to be changed? Here's a quick list of things you could ask (politely) for them to change:

  • Better anchor text  for the link
  • Linking to a better page/clean URL without query strings
  • Adding multiple links to different pages on your site

By contacting them as soon after they publish the link you stand the best chance of getting them to amend it. Also, it's a great way to build relationships. If you contact them in the right way then it's a great brand building tool at the same time. There are various ways you can monitor for new links to your site, but analytics/server logs is the best place to start since most links that send you at least one visitor are semi-genuine (rather than traffic from scrapers etc) these are also the links which will pass the most SEO benefit therefore it's most valuable to get them amended and to ensure that you're getting the most out of them.

Of course, if you're reputation monitoring then you will already be monitoring for all posts that mention your brand/site/products so why not simply take that data and use it for link building purposes too? I'm not going to be biased and link to Distilled's reputation monitoring tool. No, wait - yes I am :-)

An added benefit of having your SEO team also monitoring your reputation is that you can monitor for mentions of your brand or product from sites that don't link to you. Asking them for a link is becoming more and more effective these days as we see mainstream media starting to link out more and more. It still depends on which niche you're in and what kinds of sites are linking to you but I think it's something that is becoming more effective, especially as services like twitter let you find contacts at large organisations quickly and easily through your network.

published @ January 10, 2009

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