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Kicking Off Your Linkbuilding Campaign With Questions

Links are importantWe know this.  If you need a quick reminder why, take a look at this guide written by Paddy Moogan for Moz.

Whenever I am tasked with starting on a link development campaign for a client, I’ve found I get things done much more quickly, and get a much better ROI for clients, if I get to have a good old chinwag with them first; ideally face to face and with a nice cuppa and small pastry selection.

With that in mind, I thought I’d share a little ‘checklist’ for some of the questions I like to ask.

I start by running through some very general stuff. This allows me to compile a ‘client fact sheet’, which will be an at a glance document that I can read to refresh and re-familiarise myself with the client’s products and services, which will be particularly useful if I‘m dipping in and out of the project on a monthly basis.


I’ve also found this to be super helpful in an agency environment, as the same overview can be passed between different teams who have responsibility for that client.

Your starter for 10

  • Client overview: full name of business, number of years in business, industry type and other pertinent details

  • Main contact names and contact details

  • Some history and background, description of product(s) and / or service(s)

  • What are your USPs? What makes you unique and / or different to your competitors?

  • Who are your primary and secondary markets?

  • Who are you audiences? If the customer hasn’t already worked on their marketing personas I’ll often work on some quick personas, using this Kick Point post to guide me 

  • Who do you consider to be your competitors – both offline and online?

  • What social media presences do you have? How active are you in these places?

If I know I’ll also be working on a Local SEO strategy, I’ll make sure that we’ve confirmed a consistent address, phone number and contact details in order to make sure that I’m building a consistent citation footprint.

Ok, on with the questions, mmmm, pass the macaroons

Just a few more questions...they're wafer thin

  •  What are your linkable assets? This can include the aforementioned USPs, people, stories, special offers, giveaways and competitions amongst other things.​

  • Who already links to you, and why?  This also gives you a tremendous insight into linkable assets, and also existing relationships.  I always like to quickly run through the client’s backlink analysis – highlighting different types of links that they already have gives them a meaningful peek into the processes involved with link development, and will often provide many ‘aha’ moments for the client and myself!​

  • What are your industry affiliations and associations, memberships and awards?  This might include investors in people or green business awards.  Once you’ve compiled a list of these, you can identify the underutilised (or not utilised at all) linking opportunities that exist on those websites, and niche content opportunities also become apparent.​

  • What are your strongest offline relationships?  These could be with businesses, people, publications, almost anyone and nearly always there is a way to leverage this relationship from a linking perspective.  Sometimes you can turn a sales or product oriented client into a ‘link oriented’ client; where they consider the link opportunities presented in their relationships and interactions, both offline and online. ​

  • Where are your jobs currently advertised? Once you know this, you can check to see if linking opportunities exist within job sites in their niche.​

  • Are there any CSR initiatives in place?  Do you sponsor any local causes? Linking opportunities a go go.​

  • What do you already know about where your audience and potential audience ‘hang out’ online?  What do you think are the ‘go to’ sites for your target market (including forums)?​

  • What are the governing bodies for your industry?  Again, linking opportunities often exist on these websites, and additional affiliations can be sought and gained if the link opportunities are good.

  •  What are your industry magazines and / or websites online and offline, if known?​

Credit must go to Garrett French and Julie Joyce, the writings of whom have definitely influenced the above, and the approach I like to take when starting work with a new client.  

NB This content was originally posted back when dinosaurs roamed the earth (2011) on State Of Digital.  I still use this process, and I got Julie Joyce to check it and see if it stands the test of time.  She said yes.  Thanks Julie, you’re my favourite.

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