Content Auditing for Link Builders – Why You Should Do It, Tips, and a Spreadsheet

Content Auditing Rocks

When it comes to link building, one of the toughest challenges I ran into was clients who only wanted links built to specific pages on their site. Sometimes it was just one specific page – their homepage, and other times it would be to their homepage plus various product pages. Pages that no one really would want to naturally link to unless they were already buying the products.

The best link building clients were the ones that were open to link building towards any of their pages, including and especially to their great content. There is nothing easier than link building for a website that actually has link worthy content – infographics, videos, whitepapers, tutorials, lists, or even just informative blog posts. The only thing you run into with these clients is keeping up with all of the great content that there is to link to on their site.

The Purpose of a Content Audit Spreadsheet

This is where a content audit spreadsheet comes in handy for link building. A content audit spreadsheet for link builders is simply an analysis of the top pieces of link worthy content on a website, organized in a way that makes it easy for link builders to find the right pages to propose in their link requests to other sites based on category. The main goals of this spreadsheet are as follows.

  • To help link builders organize the information about each page so they are not always looking up the site to find a particular piece of content and what to write about it when it comes time to actually email a prospective link opportunity.
  • To keep information organized so that it can be passed on to different link builders throughout the course of a project.
  • To serve as a checklist for on-site optimization and baseline statistics.
  • To keep track of overall links built to each page.

 

Now that I’ve hopefully sold you on the benefits of a content audit spreadsheet for link builders, let’s look at the information you will want to keep in yours.

Information for a Content Audit Spreadsheet

The following pieces of information are crucial for a great content audit spreadsheet that will serve as your ultimate link building tool for each client.

  • Type – Whenever you are link building, you might find opportunities for specific types of content. For each link worthy page on a website, note the type of content on that page – infographics, video, tutorial, whitepaper, free trial download, widget, tool, application, blog post, and so forth.
  • URL – This is the full URL for each link worthy page on the website for quick copying & pasting when needed.
  • Shortened – For social sharing, keep track of a custom Bit.ly link that you can use for social promotion of the page. This way you will have social statistics including clicks and latest activity for that URL.
  • Title – This is simply the title of the piece of content. While you might want to link everything to keyword phrases, there is nothing more natural than linking to a page by its title.
  • Description – This is the description for the content which you can use when emailing a prospective link opportunity or filling out a form that asks for the page’s description.
  • Keywords – These are all of the applicable keywords and keyword phrase anchor text that fits each link worthy URL. You can enter multiple keywords in one column, or add additional columns per keyword.
  • On-Site Check – This can be per page or for the entire website, but it is simply a date of when someone last checked on-site optimization. If anything should happen down the road with the website’s rankings, it might be a good thing to check back up on. A number of times, I have seen client’s websites rankings drop simply because they changed their website design and their old URLs were not redirected or the newly designed pages were no longer optimized properly.
  • Page Authority, Links, Tweets, Likes, and Google +1′s – One thing I like to do with any website is grab a simple baseline measurement of stats before I start working with it. This way, a month or two down the road, you can see if your link building activity is making a positive impact by checking the current stats. These stats also serve defense in case the customer starts asking about results. Grab these stats using the SEOmoz Toolbar and the official social sharing buttons on the page. If the page doesn’t have social sharing buttons, you can always plug the page’s URL as the URL to share in the official button code pages for Twitter, Facebook, and Google (under Advanced Options) to see the numbers.

 

Additional Tabs

Most link builders probably have your own tools for recording links. If not, just add additional tabs to this spreadsheet for each piece of content or one additional tab for all of the links. On the link recording tab, enter the anchor text used for the link, domain the link was placed on, domain authority, traffic, page the link was placed on, page authority, contact name, and contact email. This way, you have great information to give to the client if they need proof of work, and you also have a great record of contacts to get links from on future projects.

Get the Spreadsheet

Content Audit Spreadsheet

Not in the mood to create a spreadsheet from scratch? Just grab the sample spreadsheet on Google Docs!

For Google Docs Users

If you are signed into your Google account, simply use the File > Save option to save this spreadsheet to your documents and start filling it in with your information.

For Excel and Open Office Users

If you don’t have Google Docs, or would prefer to save it on your local machine, go to the Google Docs version and use the File > Download As to save it as your desired file type. I’d suggest Open Office or Excel if possible for functionality.

How do you organize content for link building? What other details would you include? Please share your thoughts in the comments, and happy auditing!

Image credit: Joe Hall

Comments

  1. Joshua WESource

    I have a similar spread sheet, but it auto fills the page authority and domain authoriy via SEOmoz’s api. Could you upgrade your spread sheet to do the same across all the fields?

  2. Kristi Post author

    Not fully sure how to do that Joshua – does it work across all applications (Google Docs, Excel, Open Office, etc.)? I try to make mine very basic so people can use it anywhere.

  3. Simply Maternity

    Great advice, got to admit I’ve never really seen the need to record my link building efforts but when you see the data you should be tracking it makes you realise how much this information can help. Has really opened my eyes. Thanks

  4. David Ewing

    Awesome worksheet!! This post came at the best possible time as I’m going through thousands of content pieces trying to arrange a content hierarchy

  5. eQuoteMD

    This is some good stuff, as always, Kristi.

    Question in regards to your spreadsheet. What is the difference between the columns for social data? As in “Baseline” and “Current.” The spreadsheet is quite similar to what I already use, but without both columns for measure social shares.

    Thanks again for the share!

    -Michael

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