From tadpole to frogg – what I’ve learned about link building

As a new-ish member of the Leapfrogg team, I thought it was about time I blogged about what I’ve learned so far. I’ve been in the world of digital marketing for just over three months now and what a whirlwind of discovery it has been!

My experience over the last five years has been in traditional PR both agency-side and in-house, concentrating on the textbook ways of getting coverage; building journalist relationships and content sell in. I will be applying my offline knowledge to support the team’s development in online PR, helping Leapfrogg to build relationships in retail, travel, entertainment and national media.

It’s been really exciting getting to grips with how SEO link building works. The team at Leapfrogg has been great at teaching me the basics and how facets of traditional PR fit into the mix of link building techniques.

Over the last three months I’ve learned how to use link building to support SEO strategies – from the relatively quick links gained from submitting to the better quality directories and article sharing sites, to more labour-intensive blogger relationships and feature-led, online PR.

Introducing my ‘evolution of link building’ infographic

As a bit of fun, and to demonstrate how I perceive link building to have evolved over the years, I’ve put together the infographic below (I say ‘I’ve’ but credit must also go to Libby for her artistic flair!):

Beginning from the right hand side, submitting to directories, for example, represents perhaps the most straightforward of link building techniques; low hanging fruit if you like. Directory submissions are the ‘frog spawn’ of link building; there are plenty of them but only a limited number will flourish to have any real impact on your search marketing efforts.

Working around the diagram, I would consider the techniques to be both more complex and contemporary in nature (certainly where SEO is concerned). For example, writing exclusive features on behalf of a client for a relevant publication, website or blog requires a greater amount of research and planning. In some cases, the approach borrows much from the offline PR world; developing journalistic contacts, understanding editorial schedules and positioning your client (and their content) accordingly. These techniques are represented by a fully grown frog; more complex, mature and rounded in nature and thus delivering far greater impact commercially than a link on a directory, for example.

Over the coming weeks and months, I’ll be blogging in much more detail about the different methods of link building in the above infographic and their impact on our clients’ campaigns. So far I’ve had great success for clients including FindMeTV– both by creating features to send through SEO newswires and securing reviews for their mobile app. I’ve created higher quality links by writing an exclusive post for a wedding blog for Ecclesiastical Wedding Insurance, and achieved local radio presence for Roedean School, which resulted in some great online coverage…and links!

I’ve learned to take a two tier approach to campaign planning by encompassing the above strategies to both maximise ‘on the page’ optimisation and to fit link development into the wider marketing strategies of our clients. I’m particularly interested in starting to use widgets and social media tools within link building, as these are becoming easier to ‘sell in’ editorially to sites and they’re great ways to communicate with the audience. Another area I’m keen to learn more about is the use of mobile – the new frontier of search. How exactly link building, in its many forms, will evolve further with advances in technology is hugely exciting and something I’ll be keeping a close eye on. Maybe I’ll be the one to come up with the next big idea!

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