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The 30-minute-a-day link building plan

Garrett French
The 30-minute-a-day link building plan Garrett French

Link building requires an enormous investment of time and resources. Like any major investment, however, you can break the "payments" down into smaller, more manageable increments. Here's how to build links for your website in just 30 minutes a day (for the rest of your life).

Start your day each day with the following assignments, and work concertedly for a full 30 minutes. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish.

Day 1: Linkable asset identification
What about your website or organization is "linkable?" Use your first day's 30 minutes to brainstorm a list, in a spreadsheet, of every tangible and intangible aspect of your organization and website that could make others interested in linking. Some common linkable assets include webinars, job listing pages, PDFs, blogs, forums, subject matter experts, deals, news, a community participant, contests, podcasts, and free tools.

Deliverable: Open your spread sheet and make a column for the asset, and then another column for the corresponding URL from your website, if applicable.

Day 2: Link opportunity prospecting
On your second day, begin prospecting for link opportunities. Because you only have 30 minutes, it's best to only focus on a single linkable asset. So pick one from your spreadsheet and then open up a new tab and name this new tab after the asset you're focusing on. Next, select a single keyword that best describes your market. For example, if your site is a golf equipment retailer, select golf. If you're a CRM consulting firm, go with CRM. Work this keyword through the following link building query generators:

Deliverable: When you find a link prospect in the SERPs, copy and paste it into your new sheet. Be sure to record the queries that find you the most prospects in the top 10. Those will be worth coming back to later.

Day 3: Link prospect qualification
Open your sheet back up and take a look at the URLs you recorded yesterday. Are the pages on credible websites that seem like solid contributors to your industry with real relevance to your company? If not, cut them out. If they do, then look for contact information. If you're done before 30 minutes are up, go back and do a bit more prospecting. It's typical during the qualification stage to gain new insights and ideas for queries.

Deliverable: A shortened, qualified list of link prospects along with contact information.

Day 4: Outreach and acquisition
Depending on your prospects, acquisition can be as simple as submitting PDFs to a directory or sending a quick email to [email protected] Spend a few minutes working on your outreach email, and keep it humble, formal, and to the point. Then start on your list.

Deliverable: Make a note in your spreadsheet after you've contacted each person on your list.

Day 5: Regroup, respond, repeat
Day five is for responding to any emails and requests you got from your outreach. Once you're caught up with your correspondence, you need to pick your next step: Either look for more opportunities for this particular asset, or move on to another on your list.

Deliverable: Make notes of all the responses you receive and add any links acquired to a new list. Be sure to track these links in analytics to see how much traffic they send, and whether or not there are any conversions. Finally, know which asset you're starting on at the beginning of next week.

The most important step is the first one: deciding to act. As in many things in marketing and life, you learn as you go. Though 30 minutes a day isn't much time, it's certainly enough to take some basic steps towards link building and will help you judge where exactly you should spend more time and resources in the future.

Garrett French is the co-founder of Ontolo Inc.

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