Actually managing a link building campaign for a poker site can take a lot of work, but it can take a lot more work if you’re disorganized. In this blog post, I’m going to post a step-by-step guide to managing your poker site’s link building campaign.

Step 1 – Identify Potential Link Targets

Identifying potential link targets is the first step of a link building campaign for a poker site. Some people like to identify four or five targets, work on acquiring links from them, then identify four or five more target sites. Other poker webmasters prefer to make a really long list of potential link targets initially and then spend the rest of their time pursuing links from those sites. Either method works, although the latter method is probably better from a time management perspective.

Where do you find potential link targets for your poker site? There are lots of ways to do this:

  • Make a list of your friends who run websites.
  • Look for a list of general directories to submit your site to.
  • Look for topic specific directories to submit to.
  • Look at your competitors’ backlink profiles.
  • Look for content-type specific directories. (There are blog directories, forum directories, and ezine directories you can get links from.)

When you’re searching for potential link targets, remove spammy and lame websites from your list. You don’t want your link to be found from bad neighborhoods any more than you want to link TO bad neighborhoods. All links are NOT created equal. You’re a lot better off getting 10 or 20 really great quality links than you are getting 100 or 200 crappy links from crappy sites.

I use Excel to keep a list of potential link targets, but you might want to use some kind of sales database program like ACT or Salesforce.

Step Two – Get the contact information for your target sites.

Some people do this as they go along, but others make a list of contact info in their spreadsheet file. You want to be intelligent when determining a site’s contact information. The wrong way to do this is to make a list of 100 sites you want links from, and then email for all of the sites. The right way to do this is to look through the site for instructions about how to contact the site owner.

If they have specific instructions for how they handle link requests, then by all means, follow those instructions when you contact them. (You wouldn’t email to ask for a link from their directory; you’d submit your site via the form, which is how they ask you to do it.)

Some people report having a greater success rate by using the phone to contact potential link targets, but I’ve never found this to be necessary.

Step Three – Contact the site owners

This advice seems nauseatingly common now, but learn something about the site and the site’s owner before contacting them. Try to find something in common to talk about before asking for a link. Generic BS about how much you loved my site is just going to result in your email getting deleted. Telling me that I misspelled a word on my Texas holdem strategy page is going to be helpful and useful though, and you might actually get a response if your contact with me is helping me to improve the quality of my site.

Suffice it to say that there are several ways of persuading people to link to you:

  • Offer them a reciprocal link.
  • Offer to write guest content for them.
  • Write content specifically for their target audience, post it on your site, and ask the site owner to let their visitors know about it.
  • Offer SEO consulting in trade for a link.
  • Offer web design or graphics design in exchange for a link.
  • Offer poker coaching sessions in exchange for a link.

Step Four – Record your results

You should be keeping up with the results of your campaign. When you email a webmaster asking for a link, record the date that you emailed them. When they respond, add their response to your spreadsheet where you’re keeping track of your linking campaign. Have a column for results, and record yes, no, or pending in the column where you track whether or not you got the link from the site.

Watch your backlinks in the three main search engines for changes and keep up with the numbers noted there too. Watch your rankings for various phrases in the SERP’s to see if your ranking is improving as a result of your linking campaign. Keep an eye on your analytics reports to see how your traffic is trending. If you’re doing it right, then you should see traffic from search engines AND from other sites increasing.

Some people outsource their link building activities. There’s nothing wrong with that, if you’re working with someone you trust. But someone who isn’t good at link building can do a lot of damage to a site’s backlink profile, so caveat emptor.