Link Building Strategies for Established Websites
Link building for established websites differs drastically from that of small start-ups in that big websites already have brand recognition and an established link profile, so links tend to develop on their own. Therefore, the link building strategy will be focused on maintaining the authority of the domain, examining the link profile for bad practices, steadily improving the content on the website, and maximizing the benefits from existing links.
Big site link building usually involves taking over from somebody else, so you should evaluate the results so far. Even if you are the webmaster, over time some things may have eluded your attention. Begin by determining the website ranking for your relevant keywords, and depending on your niche, pay attention to the long tail ones. If there are records, track the website’s progress: how its content was optimized for its keywords, whether there were unanticipated side effects, whether or not every keyword campaign successful, etc. The link profile is also important because an unnatural link may incur Google’s wrath. When researching them, look especially at the spread of the anchor text and the originating IPs; patterns could reveal black hat methods. Additionally, note your traffic-intensive links and check their end destination, authority and surrounding text. It is important that the right page and your domain get the links1.
Some say that an active social media presence is enough for sustainable link building2. By managing the social profile in forums, blogs, groups, etc., the company can keep a positive image and retain public interest. However, it must have a comprehensive website to reference for all its offline events and it must monitor whether the links lead users to their destination and are converted into customers.
Having conducted the research, you should have noticed the places in need of improvement – faulty links, malicious negative SEO, out-dated content with high bounce rates, etc, which you should deal with quickly. Before you ask for a link to be removed, see if it cannot be redirected for better use as you could find new customers where you least expect them. Additionally, modifying the content to better suit the incoming users is easier than modifying the link and could lower the bounce rate or even increase the customer conversion.
Parallel to your new link building, you must monitor the quality and traffic of existing ones. It wouldn’t hurt to manually check the visual appearance of your most important backlinks to see if they do justice to your company, and avoid limiting the anchor text to “click here,” or just the company name. Furthermore, consider doing category pages for existing links so that users land on a page that better directs them to their desired content. If you are doing a marketing campaign with a third-party company, like a PR firm, make sure that the links lead to your own domain and are not diverted through the PR firm.
Another strategy is to salvage old links that have fallen into disuse3. This involves locating old or non-working backlinks either to your domain or to your subdomain. You can restore the content on these pages and win back your traffic, or have the link changed to the more recent content.
As big websites have a huge amount of content on them, it is quite likely that writers, who are generally bloggers and journalists, will borrow a piece or two from your website to paste as their own. Use Google’s “Similar Images” and “Exact” searches to see where your pieces have landed. Quite frequently these have been copied without thinking of the legal consequences, so if you send them a friendly e-mail simply asking for a backlink, more often than not you will receive one.