Miranda Miller

Link Building for Beginners in 3 Simple Steps

Alison Groves from Raven Tools talks link building in an introductory SEO track at NMX Las Vegas.Historically, link building was critical for companies to appear in search results, as links have long been an important signal to search engines. However, the new link building is about mentions, social visibility, and building your company’s presence, says Alison Groves, Product Coordinator at Raven Internet Marketing Tools.

Groves presented her three simple steps to link building for businesses in a presentation this morning at NMX Las Vegas. Her process, she says, revolves around relationship building and nurturing in order to earn mentions from relevant websites. We need to focus less on the technical and more on attracting targeted traffic by getting our sites in front of the people most likely to be interested in our product or service, she said.

With those goals in mind, here are Groves’ three simple steps for link building:

Step One: Research

What is a relevant website and how do I find it? Look for relevant websites for your business, locally, in your industry, etc.

Start with a simple Google search and query descriptive, long-tail keywords. Take it a step further and add a site operator (keyword-site:domain.com) to weed out the site you already know about and discover new sources.

Don’t forget that Facebook also has an internal search. Not only do you find relevant websites, but you can see the social aspects of it as well and begin to build relationships.

Use the web catalog to find out which websites link to the site that you are examining. Start building out your list of relevant, trusted sites.

Step Two: Outreach

You’ve curated a list of really good, high quality, relevant websites. Now how do you get a mention from them to bring awareness to your business?

Stay on point with your story. There are a few simple rules to remember when doing outreach:

  • Be genuine. Tell your story, be compelling and let people know you’re passionate about what you do and not just hitting them up for something.
  • Don’t immediately go in for the kill. Build relationships first, no one wants to write about you the first time they’ve ever heard from you.

Start at Social Mention, where you can type in your keyword and see real-time mentions across a variety of social sites. This helps you identify people for outreach and you can actually start building a relationship within the platform, as it is connected to social sites.

Create Twitter lists to curate people around relevant topics and begin to contact people to start relationship building.

Try out Rapportive to find contact information on people you’re interested in contacting. You might already have the person’s email, but this gives you access to their social presences, where you might choose to connect or follow up.

Step Three: Keep Relationships Going

As Alison said, there’s no “wham bam thank you maam” in link building or online relationship building. Nurturing relationships is incredibly important and pays dividends over time. Always reciprocate and share the love you’ve received from website owners.

In link building, it’s critical to stay organized and hang on to as much data as you can. Even in a simple Excel sheet, keep track of the date of your first outreach, dates of follow ups, the types of links you’re working on or have acquired, the site domain, the website owner’s contact information and any other information you may need to track your link building efforts.

Conversation notes are a handy tool, according to Groves. It’s helpful to have a reminder of a conversation you might have had months ago, to avoid an embarrassing situation where you forget how you are connected with someone.

See the entire process outlined in Groves’ presentation from NMX:


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  1. Thanks for attending and sharing Miranda! I’m glad we got a chance to meet at the conference. I may have to use this photo as my new head shot! 🙂

    • Avatar MirandaM_EComm says

      Do it! That was my fancy new camera lol… I graduated from only having my BB camera phone at conferences and this is a very good thing.

      Glad to have been there, it’s good to hear your focus on the relationships behind the links, it’s an important lesson for businesses!

  2. Great tips in link building. Building relationships with other online businesses and bloggers can take up a lot of time and effort, but it can be rewarding in the long run.

  3. It’s refreshing to see a link-building strategy that focuses on building relationships rather than purchasing links. I like the idea of creating Twitter lists. The same concept can be applied to circles in Google+.

    • Oooh, good call Mary. I’m not much of a Google+ user since I’m convinced the only folks using it are marketers, but that’s still an awesome idea. I’ll add that to future versions of the presentation.

  4. Avatar Oremo Ochillo says

    Nice article Miranda. Especially appreciate you recommending the Social Mention and Rapportive tools as I was not aware of those.

  5. Avatar Abhishek Bhan says

    Research is absolutely important in link building but one thing that you must keep in mind is, your foremost task is to build a relationship. After you have built a reliable relationship, you can benefit a lot more than mere link building.

  6. Link building is not an easy task without knowing about it. You need to check each and every point for any website , if you really want to do Link building. I found very interesting information over here. Waiting for more blogs…

  7. The use of social media is a must for link building in the present times. I like your input about Social Mention. It is a very good platform. Also use other social platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest to the fullest.

  8. Avatar Rank Watch says

    This such a simple layout of how to steps. The importance of relation building is a vital point here. Else, “wham bam thank you maam” becomes a habit and the down side would eventually be visible later.

    Also, the mention of Reaportive tools made it even more insightful.

  9. Avatar Bruno Babic says

    Awesome post, Miranda. I am definitely going to follow these 3 link building steps that you’ve kindly presented here. I find the site operators particularly useful and powerful.
    Thank you.

  10. I agree with the third point. Most people thought link building is a machine job, but actually we build relationship while we build links.

  11. Since there are newcomers to the SEO field this would be helpful for them. Great content.

  12. very informative article,as am new to seo it’s really helpful for me.great link building statergy.thanks for sharing.:)

  13. Nice information. Its usefulness and significance is overwhelming the way you covered all the basic necessary information is really impressive, good work keep it up!!

  14. Great saying and depicting her thoughts in simply three words. Research-outreach and then keeps on a relationship if you finally get the opportunity . I fully agree with her suggestion because marketing is all about offering your product to the right person who want to get it.