DIY SEO #18: Choosing Your Target Keywords For Link Building

Choosing target keywords for link building

Update: 11/04/2014:
Enough has changed in the practice of link building since this series was original written that the content is no longer accurate or usable.  We may update the section on link building in the future, but for now, we’ve decided to simply take down this content. [End Update]

Now that you know everything there is to know about link building ;), it’s time to get our link building campaign(s) prepared.  As we discussed in DYI SEO #16: How Link Building Works, in addition to just getting a link, the text used in text links will have a direct impact on your search rankings.  Just as choosing the right keywords in on-page SEO is crucial, so it is with link building.  So how will you know the best keywords to target?

What Keywords Need Links
The first thing you will need to do know what your rankings are.  This will tell us what keywords need a little extra boost and which need a Titan rocket.  So, you will need to run a ranking report for all the keywords in your keyword plan.  Assuming that you have already optimized your pages for these keywords, then…

  • Keywords for which you rank in the top 10 may just need a little boost to get you in the top 3.
  • Keywords which rank 11-30 will need a decent amount of link building.
  • Keywords which rank 31 or higher will probably require some serious link building

If you haven’t already optimized a page for the keyword, then you may find that optimization is all that’s needed.

Low Hanging Fruit
It can be tempting to go ahead and start your super-popular keywords.  After all, they get tens of thousands of searches a month and that would be totally awesome to get that traffic.  (Do you sense the “but” coming?)  But you are actually better off targeting the keywords which are already ranking pretty well.

Statistically, there isn’t a whole lot of difference in traffic from a keyword if you rank #200 or #50.  You won’t get much traffic for either position.  But there is a huge difference in traffic between the #1 position and the #10 position.  We’re talking about somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 times the traffic.  Even the #3 spot will get you 2-3 times the traffic of #10.

If you are already ranking in the top ten, you can probably move up in the rankings pretty quickly with a decent link building campaign.  By targeting the keywords which already rank decently, but not top 3, you stand to get the quickest return on your efforts.  Even if these aren’t very popular keywords, you may be able to double or triple your current website traffic by getting into the top 3.  That helps you better achieve your website goals and gives you the emotional boost of seeing real benefits from your link building efforts which helps you keep at it.

If you start by targeting the ultra-competitive keywords it will likely take a very long time before you see any benefits, your missing out on traffic in the mean time and your more likely to get discouraged.

The Two-fer
two keywords for oneIf you’re not thrilled about only targeting less competitive keywords, good news, you don’t have to.  When you are selecting your keywords, try to find longer keyword phases that contain the shorter, more popular keywords.  For example, I may start by targeting “contemporary church in Tampa” knowing that it contains the more competitive “church in Tampa” keyword.

You may even be able to get 3 or 4 keywords in the targeted phrase.  Don’t just think of keywords contained in other keywords, but keywords partially contained in other keywords.  If I have the keywords “Christian alcoholics recovery” and “alcoholics recovery ministry” on my list, I can target “Christian alcoholics recovery ministry” and get both keywords (and get “alcoholics recovery” as well.  Targeting a keyword with your link building is great, but targeting 2 or 3 is even better.

Keywords You Dominate
You most likely have at least some keywords for which you already rank very well, top 3 or even #1.  Just because you rank well for those keywords, doesn’t mean they don’t need any link love.   Remember, you have competition out there who may, themselves, be link building or may start link building in the future.  No ranking is permanent.  You have to work to keep your rankings.  So, if you already have top rankings for a keyword, it’s good to still get the occasional link with those keywords.  I wouldn’t make them a focus, but it’s good to give them a little love.

Additional Notes and Tips:

  • Local organizations: No need for an entirely separate post for this.  It just needs to be pointed out that while local SEO does differ significantly from regular SEO, targeted link building is very important to local organizations as well.  There are some other link building type strategies local organizations need to do in addition to regular link building, but we’ll discuss those in later posts.

Today’s Tasks:

  • Run a ranking report for the keywords on your keyword plan.
  • Identify the low hanging fruit keywords as well as the more difficult keywords you will want to target eventually.
  • Create a prioritized list of the keywords you would like to target using keyword phrases that contain more than one keyword whenever possible.

Photos by and bambibabe48

What do you think?

What do you think is the best way to determine what keywords you will target with your link building?

DIY SEO #17: 17 Things You Need To Know About Link Building <- DIY SEO: Main ->

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12 Responses to “DIY SEO #18: Choosing Your Target Keywords For Link Building”

  1. Before starting link building campaign its necessarily to provide proper keyword research and not only find keywords relevant for your website but also to make sure that people use these words or phrases to search for services or products online

  2. Nice post Kurt about link building but now link building count as a spamming. Now Google is more strict. Google has really stepped up the search engine algorithm and a lot has changed since SEO's earlier years. Now, if create link direct on our targeted keywords, then Google can hurt our site ranking. So, I think better to use keyword phrase and try to get back links from high PR sites. This is the time to use smart mind and should do quality work.

  3. One problem though, I don't think Keywords Selection is as important anymore when Google Hummingbird came. You see, with Hummingbird, the results are no longer directly coupled to individual keywords, but rather to the sequence of the queries. The linking of a sequence of queries is what makes it possible to determine the intent of a search query without the need for ‘caveman’ terms.

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