How to Create and Manage an Enterprise Link Building Campaign
As you may know, incoming links from relevant and authoritative sites will help your site’s organic search rankings.The quality of your site’s backlinks is a ranking signal for search engines like Google and if your site gains new backlinks, your rankings will likely improve, all else being equal. So, making an effort to acquire relevant, new backlinks from authoritative sites in your industry, irrespective of your site’s size, is a very worthy endeavor.
But the bigger the site, the more complex this can become. Building links to enterprise-level company websites has its own host of challenges. It can be fraught with pitfalls, but it can also significantly move the needle if done right. Read on to learn how to do it right.
If you’re going to build links to any site, it’s best to plan things in advance. This becomes even more critical when dealing with the complexities and scale of an enterprise site. From sheer number of URLs to varying and sometimes competing departmental and business goals, the planning of a link-building project can make or break the whole campaign.
Once your plan is in place, you’ll need to manage it very closely for the duration of the campaign.
Campaign Planning Steps to Take:
1. Determine your budget
It’s best if you know in advance how much you can spend. The size of the budget will impact both the quality and number of backlinks the campaign produces. Examples of things you’ll likely spend money on include research, outreach, and content writing, to name just a few.
2. Make a list of backlink destination pages
Enterprise websites usually have a very large number of pages. Analytics and crawling software, like Google Analytics and Screaming Frog for example, will help you sift through large numbers of URLs.
Your goal here is to decide in advance which specific pages on the enterprise site you want to build links to, sometimes called destination pages. And you’ll need to determine how you’re going to choose these pages too. To do this, ask:
What are the goals?
- Get more traffic?
- Generate more leads?
- Generate more sales?
- Promote specific products or services?
The answers to these questions will help you narrow down your list of potential destination pages. Oftentimes this list will include a mixture of top-funnel (generic, information-based) pages and bottom-funnel (transactional or ‘money’) pages.
In the end, you want a list of URLs on the site that both you and the company agree you should build links to. These are pages that you want to move up in the ranks.
You ought to also leave room for any new URLs that you create specifically to attract links too.
3. Identify and list potential backlinking sites
This list will be of sites that you could possibly get a link from. They all ought to meet predefined criteria. For example, you may only want to acquire backlinks from English-speaking countries that are relevant to your industry.
Characteristics that make a site good to get a backlink from are beyond the scope of this article, but there are some top things to consider:
- Does the site get organic traffic right now and how much? If it has little or no organic traffic, a link from it may not be very effective.
- How many keywords does the site rank for currently?
- How many referring domains does the site have?
- Does the site have an active blog or is the content relatively fresh?
- Is the site relevant to our industry or page topic? If it is not relevant, then it may not be worth getting a link from.
This list can also be populated with “unlinked brand mention” sites too. These are sites that mention your enterprise company somewhere on a page using the brand name, but the text is not an actual hyperlink. You can reach out to these sites and ask that they make it a link.
Keep in mind that the larger this whole list is, the better the odds of acquiring links.
Important: And of course anything that can be done in an enterprise link building job at scale will be even more advantageous.
Implementing Your Enterprise Link Building Campaign
Once your destination page list and potential linking sites list are complete, it’s time to start building links! Here are the general steps to take:
Managing the Link Building Campaign
- Gather and list the email addresses of each site on your potential linking sites list.
- Contact the relevant ones to suggest they link to a page on your enterprise site’s destination page list. There are many white-hat tactics to achieve this. Although it’s also beyond the scope of this article, here are a couple of examples:
a) If one of your enterprise site destination pages is a resource that offers useful information that is relevant to a site on your list, send an email to them that suggests they link to your page.
b) Have the enterprise create a piece of content using data that is unique to them. Reach out to sites on your destination page list and suggest they link to it.
c) If you added unlinked brand mentions to your potential backlinking sites list, reach out to them and ask that they make the unlinked mention a link back to the enterprise website.
- Create a project spreadsheet and record everything. (See next section for details.)
Create a master project tracker spreadsheet. It’s here that you’ll record which sites you’ve reached out to and when, which email message you sent, and their response.
When backlinks are acquired, list each new URL of the page that contains the backlink along with the link’s anchor text. Include the linking site’s topic, number of keywords it ranks for, it’s Domain Authority (or DA, which is Moz’s metric) or Domain Rating (DR is Ahrefs’ metric), the date the link went live, and which destination page it links to.
Important: Check every link! Before you record the new backlink, actually visit the page that links and click on the link to ensure the site, link and your destination page are all working properly.
Each time a new link goes live, and you’ve checked it, record it in your spreadsheet along with all the associated information listed above.
Reporting on Your Enterprise Link Building Efforts
There’s a lot of money at stake and any enterprise organization is going to want to know what and how much the campaign produced.
You ought to send reports listing newly acquired backlinks. Typical column headings for this spreadsheet report include URL, Date, Monthly Traffic, Anchor Text, and Destination Page.
And when the campaign is complete, send a final report that lists everything. Look at each destination page that received one or more backlinks from your campaign in the site’s analytics like Google Analytics to determine how many sessions each page received along with how many leads or sales it generated from the beginning of the campaign till the end.
Compare those numbers with what they were for the same time period before the campaign began, or the same time period from the year before (year over year) and list those too.
Create a new list of all the destination pages that received backlinks as a result of your campaign, along with the data you pulled from Google Analytics, the keywords the page ranks for, the monthly search volume of the keywords, and the current page rankings in Google. This will comprise your final report.
The goal is to show how the campaign improved each destination page’s rankings, organic sessions, and leads/sales.
Important: You’ll want to wait a couple of months before reporting on this as it takes time for a page’s rankings to settle down after new links are built.
Enterprise link building, while challenging and complex, can help any enterprise organization. When done right, it can reap significant rewards beyond the resources invested. And what organization doesn’t love that?