Successful link building plans all start with two critical phases: assessing the site and assessing the competition.
Assessing the Site
This phase is crucial to gain a clear understanding of what the current link structure of the site is like. During this phase, the goal is to gauge weaknesses in the current link structure and discover ways to improve the link structure. The most common weakness for the average web site is lack of quality links.
Imagine a doctor recommending a physical therapist to a patient; now imagine the same therapist being recommended by a man who sells magazines at the corner store. Which opinion is going to carry more weight? This principle is similar to the way search engines weight incoming links. A link from a strong site with many incoming links of its own is the equivalent of many links from obscure pages with no incoming links. A site with no links from quality sites will never reach the upper echelons of the search results for any but the very weakest keywords.
Assessing the Competition
The other consideration when planning a linking program is gaining a clear understanding of the competition’s linking structure. As surpassing these competitors is the goal of any linking program, failing to assess them is like shooting at an invisible target. Learning the types and sources of the competition’s incoming links gives the link builder insight into what is working in that niche.
Activity does not equal accomplishment. Having a clear understanding of both the site being promoted and its competitors enables a link builder to understand the work required and provides a goal to assess progress.