Link Building Done Differently: Find Link "Potentiality"

By Catherine Potts | May 29, 2009
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A Guide To Qualifying Link Prospects For Relevance, Value & Potentiality from the crew (Garrett French) at Search Engine Land. This great article goes into how to pinpoint the best places for a link. They even provide a downloadable worksheet to help you visualize the best places for your links. This isn’t necessarily new information but it’s been gathered in a different way. Definitely more scientific way and I think it helps better bend the questioning mind around what to focus on with your link building campaign.

So there is this term called “link prospecting.” What is it?

“Acquisition potentiality is the likelihood that a particular link prospect will actually “convert” into a link for your site.

Here are some factors that indicate a link prospect’s acquisition potentiality:

·Is it a competitor?

·Ability to submit, add or comment

·Relationship with someone at that domain

·Publication date

·Can you make a valuable addition or correction to the page?”

It’s essentially a score card that helps you keep track of what sites could be most useful to your link building campaign. So it’s more of an in-depth review and analysis, a grading system that cuts out the gook in the middle to get to the meat of the potential benefits.

So how does it work?

Well Garrett provides a visual where all the key areas overlap. These key areas are: Relevance, Value and high link prospect potential.

Courtesy: Search Engine Land

As I’ve stated many times before, relevance is key. If you’re linking to irrelevant sites, you might be wasting your time. Just depends on how Google will view that relationship. There are some factors within the relevance requirement that aid in its value to you for a possible linking opportunity.

“Here are some factors to measure that will indicate a link prospect’s relevance to your target keywords:

Keywords in the Title tag

Keywords in the body of the text

Keywords in H1 tags”

The next area is in what value that link will serve to your site. This is nothing new but Garrett suggests that one check the Page Rank of both the hostname and page you’re linking to. And as he also says, we have few ways to measure a legitimate Page Rank so this at least will aid in quickly surmising what value a page may carry.

“We propose that by combining the measurement of a link prospect’s relevance with its value, one can make faster decisions regarding acquisition priority.

Here are some factors to measure that indicate a link prospect’s value:

PageRank of hostname

PageRank of page

Outbound links followed/no-followed”

Garrett adds that if you’re searching for links that include referrals or community involvement, then nofollow links aren’t out of the picture. Again, the main focus would be that all important relevance.

So Garrett then goes into “link prospect acquisition potentiality.” This is the measurement of how probable the link is to “convert” into a valuable link to your page. This also goes back to relevance. Can I say it again? RELEVANCE! If you happen to have a relationship with the site, they’ll likely link to you-If your products somehow highlight eachother or work together.

Several factors listed out as negatives for a link’s “potentiality” are: if they are a competitor, can you control the content associated with your link, does the page have anything to do with what you’re site is trying to sell?

So this is where the handy dandy spreadsheet comes in. Now I’m not totally sure that this particular process is quite for me (just yet) as it’s pretty easy to tell, when visiting a site, if they’re going to work or not. Of course my campaign may not be on the same scale as, say, a company that needs to evaluate thousands of potential sites in a short time. This would require a team far larger than I’ve got and that’s why Garrett says this:

Remember – the link building worksheet works best with large numbers of link prospects. The more you can evaluate the better. We prefer working at a scale of hundreds of thousands of prospects. If you’re working by hand, try and get up into the high hundreds, if not thousands.”

And he also says that were it not for the tools I’ve previously written about (e.g. SEO for Firefox, SEOmoz tools) and other tools of similar use, life would be much harder. Not every tool does everything (duh!) but collectively, they sure do make things a lot easier.

If you have a need to evaluate a lot of links, check out the spreadsheet. It could cut some of that evaluation time down saving you time and headaches-and we can all use that right?

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