Link Building is about as exhilarating as watching Oprah. Granted it has its exciting moments, but generally it just irritates you and makes you want to punch things sporadically – which is why I knew there had to be a better way.
It wasn’t until I was watching my almost 3 year old son playing with his blocks that it occurred to me how best to approach the whole SEO game.
Yes I reprimanded myself for thinking of SEO when I should have been helping to build Harrisons’ tower, or at the very least – preventing his little sister from eating crayons in the corner, but then I did name two of our five fish ‘Google’ and ‘Yahoo’.
Yes, I am a sad sad man. And now I forget where I was. Oh yeah, Harrison – building his block tower…
So What if I was to tell you we were going to build some backlinks today? Yeah I thought so.
But if I was to say that today we are going to build a sandcastle!! (Kiesha appears not to have the Hel Yeahtica font installed so please add your own awesome levels of excitement at this point.)
Go on admit it, when I suggested building a sandcastle, a tiny part of you was like ‘Awesome!’. Why?
Because like Children, we learn the most when we are having fun!
Children learn through play and the interaction with their environment, and I think if we approach link building from the same perspective, we might actually get somewhere.
With that I bring you (toy drumroll please)
The Link Builders Toy Box.
Here are some of the tools I use in my Link Building Arsenal – and unlike most of the mundane services that help me get ranked, these resources are quite enjoyable to play with. They’re all free, they provide relevant information and best of all, they teach you stuff good like!
If Link Building is like watching Oprah, then think of this as Jerry Springer. (Except not cancelled.)
LESSON 1: How Many Jelly Beans are in the Jar?
You remember the old Jellybeans in the jar guessing competition. You have to guesstimate how many Jellybeans there are based on the size of the jar and a whole lot of luck.
This was fun when you were 8 – and the prize was X amount of jellybeans, but when your …older and the jellybeans are backlinks that guessing game is really not fun anymore.
Go to Yahoo Site Explorer, Use this software – and that, try typing the code from the back of your Cable TV receiver into Google followed by the first number you thought of… and quite frankly I’ve had enough.
So had the creators of Toy#1, it appears.
Toy #1: Open Site Explorer
Open Site Explorer is a free service (also available as a paid resource) which basically allows you to see a whole lot of link data about a site, yours or your competition.
With Open Site Explorer, you can Analyse the following datasets:
- Linking Pages
How many incoming Links, both internally and externally – as well as the authority of the incoming link
- Linking Domains
How many incoming links from the primary domain – as well as authority of linking domain.
- Top Pages
Which Pages on the site have the most links
- Anchor Text Distribution
The actual Hypertext linking to your site, and how many times.
- Full List of Metrics
The Total links broken down into nofollow/do-follow as well as specific details on incoming link authority and domain authority.
The Free Service only provides details on the first ten or so links (in regards to metrics, but you can still see hundreds of incoming links listed).
Ready to Learn Competitive Link Analysis?
Not really – but keep playing with this tool and you will.
You see you might start by investigating your own blog. Then you might check your closest competition. From here anything can happen – but it usually involves wanting to find why they have more links, and where they get them from and before you know it you have read the dummies guide to Competitive Link Analysis – an essential part of good SEO.
LESSON 2: Hide and go Seek!
Everyone knows Hide n’ Seek, and I know you’ve all played it – it’s an integral part of growing up! But now that we are online it’s very different. We want to find things straight away, especially our own things– but the biggest problem (and what also appears to be amusingly ironic) is that the sheer frustration of trying to do it manually can leave you wanting to go and hide in the cupboard for an hour or so (sobbing is optional)
Not anymore! Because with Toy #2 you can find out exactly where you rank for any site and any keyword you like (unless you suck*)
*Only gives you a rank if it is within the top 100.Hence the suckiness 😉
Toy #2: Mike’s Rank Checker
Mike’s Marketing Tools – including the Free Search Engine Rank Checker is a great free resource for finding out just how well (or bad) you are ranking for specific key phrases.
The Tool gives you your Keyword Rank for all the Search Engines, including Google, Yahoo, Bing and AOL.
Tired of flicking through pages of Google results to find out if and where your page ranks?
Bookmark Mike’s Rank Checker and find out instantly.
After a while of using this you will start to see where you need to improve and what is working and from this information… yep that’s right more learning happens.
LESSON 3: Learning your ABC’s
Learning to read and write was easy when you were a kid – and a small reason for this was the fun you had as you learned how. Now you are online and there are numerous new languages you need to learn, none of which are much fun at all.
Probably the least fun of all those languages is the stupid series of dots and dashes required to make a Search Engine find a specific type of blog or site. But this is also a crucial language to learn because it allows you to actively seek out the most authorative and relevant sites to link to and from, so here’s a toy that makes it fun again.
Toy #3: Drop My Link.
Drop My Link is an awesome free service that basically queries your Google Search for you by giving you the options in a drop down box.
If you wanted to find a .gov domain to comment on for example, then in Google you would have to type in site:.gov “add comment” “Relevant Keyword” and obviously for each variable the string changes.
Now if I want to do this, I simply go to DropMyLink.com and enter my keyword, choose the type of domain, link, directory, Blog, or Web2.0 site I want to comment on and away I go.
That’s it from my Link Building Toy Box – the free stuff anyway. Hope you find these great resources as helpful as I have.
- What Toys do you have in your SEO Toybox?
- Do you use these tools/resources different to how I suggested?
- Your feedback is appreciated.
Alex Whalley is the owner and founder of Build | Rank | Profit – The Niche Site Marketing Blog.