Link Building Gap Analysis – A Webinar from Amy Merrill

Early this month (Wednesday 2nd March)  Amy Merrill, Chief SEO & Link Strategist for Page One Power, led a free webinar called ‘The Link Building Gap: Identifying It and Filling It’.

Amy debunks the idea that one should passively earn links, and explains specific link building tactics that you can utilise. Watch the full recording below and read on for some of the highlights from Amy’s presentation.

Amy started her webinar by drawing our attention to the fact that we tend to forget about the similarity between relationships on the web and in real life, explaining that backlink portfolios are like a neighbourhood; “Imagine the backlink portfolio that your site accumulates as your neighbourhood: it is important to know who is living across from you and what community you are surrounding yourself with”.  When you sit back, letting links come to you without any effort from your end, you’re not controlling the ‘company’ you keep. To prevent this from happening, we should start moving away from the idea of passive link earning.

Amy went on to explain that if you’re doing everything right SEO-wise (i.e. you have a great website, notable brand and strong web presence), it doesn’t always lead to organic links. Your website should earn links based on the merit of its content, but it shouldn’t passively earn links without any manual outreach, otherwise you’ll be missing out on additional link opportunities. This is one of the “link building gaps” that exists on an industry level: PR-minds haven’t yet merged with SEO-minds.

In this webinar, Amy warns us that the goal of any link building campaign should never be “acquiring links” per se; we need to realise what purpose those links serve – as the quantity of links is only a means to an end.
According to Amy’s presentation, the following goals tend to be the most common:

  • Increased organic traffic
  • Increased conversion
  • Improved keyword rankings
  • Improved brand visibility

Once you have established your goals, you need to develop a plan to meet them; here Amy emphasised that even if your plan looks good on paper, your link building campaign can still go off the rails if you’ve not identified all of the players first.

Your ‘players’ are not just members of your internal team, but anyone who will affect your plan. A full awareness of who the key players are will help you determine a timeline and sign post potential gaps that can form around specific players.

Once the players are identified, the next step is completing a Link Building Gap Assessment; a crucial activity aims to help you prioritise goals, monitor what adjustments you need to make and set proper expectations with your client. Below is Amy’s Gap Template, within the webinar she gave an example of how to organise a link building campaign and to communicate your strategy to the client. 

gap assessment template

Amy also recommended this article on Inbound.org, written by her co-worker, Nicholas Chimonas, SEO at Page One Power. In the article, Nicholas gives a comprehensive checklist of what you need to assess before considering link building.

In her concluding remarks, Amy went into detail on link building tactics; reminding us that social media shares don’t necessarily result in traffic that converts, and referred to a studyconducted by BuzzSumo in collaboration with Moz, that indicates that most of the content published online is ignored, and the number of shares is not directly connected to linking. Instead, Amy thinks that we need to focus on creating informational and educational content that not only will be effective in terms of SEO, but will also be engaging to a vast audience. Finally, Amy encouraged us to build relationships with potential leads, asking them for mentions that ultimately will result in a healthy backlink portfolio.

Learn how to take advantage of link building opportunities by watching the recording  and leave us some feedback (either via Twitter or within the comments section).