Tools for Building Link Relationships
LunaMetrics changed its Facebook relationship status to single recently after ending a long term relationship with its link building tool. The two had been together for several healthy, prosperous years, but realized that they had drifted in different directions and needed to separate. They remain close friends.
After a weekend with Ben & Jerry and the latest Katherine Heigl romantic comedy, LunaMetrics decided to get back out there. The search for a new link building partner was tedious. It screened all available suitors, subjected itself to blind dates and even agreed to several 30-day trials. In the end, LunaMetrics found that each had positive attributes but not all could be the perfect companion.
The old fling, Raven, has a great link building tool. That’s undeniable. But LunaMetrics no longer needs an enterprise SEO package. We continuously shop for the best tools and can’t be locked in with one platform or company. We just need a link building partner.
Which one is just right?
The Goldilocks approach took two months. We tested the old faves but also wanted to see what the young up-and-comers had to offer. The short list included the following tools.
- Link Building Toolbar
- Advanced Link Builder
Testing six tools is exhausting, especially when it means six sets of account creation, project detailing, data importation, trial and ultimate cancelation. But, for a several thousand dollar investment, it’s worth doing your homework because they don’t all offer what they promise.
This one is too limited.
This one is too enterprise.
This one is too slow.
This one is too expensive.
The list goes on and on. Worst of all, we found that most tools approached link building from an outdated perspective. The days of hunting for directory listings and spun article placement are behind us and fading quickly. The line between public relations and link building is blurring, and that makes me happy.
SEO Relationship Management
Google’s Penguin update in April 2012 reprimands low-value link building practices blah blah blah. Everybody knows that. And if that algorithm update affected your site, this blog probably isn’t for you, anyway. We don’t play that game. Our clients can’t risk their business and reputation on blackhat SEO gambles (and neither can we).
Not that we’re bragging. Our job is harder these days because there are more inbound marketers and fewer reputable link building partners. That means publications are flooded with requests for links.
Luckily for us, some things never change. Lazy spammers are still lazy spammers. “Dear Webmaster, will you link to my site?” doesn’t get them far.
Acquiring links or opportunities to contribute content takes time. SEOs must build relationships with publishers, earn trust and offer something in return, which makes perfect sense. As the real world and online world continue to merge, Web etiquette and outreach will evolve to more closely resemble old-school PR strategies. SEOs will have to use their phone and leave the comfortable confines of their parent’s basement in order to build relationships and networks.
Link Building Tool Tips
LunaMetrics needed a hybrid tool that approached link building from a relationship management perspective. That’s what we found in Buzzstream. This isn’t a plug so I won’t rattle off all of its finer features, but it had all of things we wanted and several that we didn’t know that we wanted. For anyone in a similar situation, searching for the right tool, here a few features that make link relationship management easier in our post-Penguin world.
A prospecting button or toolbar quickly adds new potential partners to a project database. That saves time by eliminating the copy & paste routine. Find a tool that scrapes and organizes all relevant information for you.
Sorting and filter features make large databases manageable. A project with 25 link partners is easy to sift through today, but think about multiplying that by 10 or 100. Plus, it is nice to segregate link partners based on the relationship stage, for example only displaying links in progress and hiding the active ones.
Search tools also come in handy. That way you can always find “the one from yesterday morning with ‘Bubbles’ in the title.”
Communication tracking used to be a labor intensive process—make a note here and paste the message there. It save so much time (and embodies the idea of relationship building) when every interaction is stored. “Did I ever get back to that editor?” is no longer an issue.
In the end, LunaMetrics is just happy to be out there again. It was a long search, but worth every effort. Our new partner is great and we’re excited about our future together. Maybe it’s just like John Lennon said. All you need is love.
About Andrew Garberson
Andrew Garberson is the SEO Department Coordinator at LunaMetrics. His inbound marketing and public relations background includes management experience in entrepreneurial, nonprofit and agency environments. Andrew spends much of his free time as a pro bono communications consultant for international grassroots organizations in the nonprofit sector. He has master's degrees in business administration and mass communications.