Well-Timed Link Building: How to Capitalize on Popular Topics

phone-stagesIn SEO, timing is of the essence. Timing is very important for regular topics with a predictable life cycle. Your link building efforts will be much more effective when you understand the separate phases.

Is There a Predictable Life Cycle for Your Keywords?

Your industry probably has keyword trends that clearly show a life cycle (mainly product names). Google Trends offers some insight into keyword trending when your keyword stays above a minimum threshold.

Social media monitoring tools often provide even better insights into popular topics and the keyword combinations in which they are addressed.

Using Radian6 I discovered that there are four or five main phases in the life cycle of a mobile phone. In such phases people discuss distinctly different topics in combination with phone names. You should attract links in all these phases, but that requires a different type of message in each phase.

1. The Rumor Phase

In this phase people use words like “leaked”, “first”, and they guess potential names for the new Android or iPhone.

Link building: Find sites that rank in this phase by already Googling for keyword combinations like “iphone 5s” or “iphone 6” (potential names for future phones). Focus on attracting links from them by feeding their rumor. Provide the first photos or potential sketches. Speculate about its name, release date and specifications and do so for all important phones in this phase of their life cycle.

2. The Introduction Phase

Once a new phone is officially announced, sample phones are distributed to the media and the first reviews are written. Words like “introduction”, “review”, “release date” and “new features” become more important in this phase.

Link building: Partnering with review sites is the most important link building activity for this phase. Comparing and rating their reviews might work, paying them to mention your site or providing your own sample phones for review are all possible link acquisition strategies.

3. The Pre-Sale Phase

In this phase people start selecting the provider or shop for their new mobile phone. Words like “compare”, “features” and “support” (app compatibility) are often mentioned and searched in this phase.

Link building: Offering early bird specials or special package deals/editions for people that pre-register proved very successful. Providing comparison charts and selection wizards also makes your site more linkable. Gossip about scarceness or insufficient stock with certain providers has also worked wonders in the past.

4. The For Sale Phase

Once a phone is really for sale you should already be ranking because of all that effort in earlier stages of the mobile phone life cycle. In this phase keywords like “deals”, “price”, “prepaid” and “verizon” rise to the top of search volume and social mentions.

Link building: Combine your sales effort with link building, but try not to break Google guidelines for paid links. When you aid sites showing your advertisements with quality images and unique content, normal links can also be included. If you have access to sales numbers, share sales comparison charts for several phones. Even a widget, wizard, or other promotional tool can aid both sales and link building.

5. The Support Phase

Later in the sales phase accessories like cases are mentioned and searched for more often. Keyword combinations with “unlock” and “jailbreak” show that the phone has become an established name. Once second-hand or refurbished phones are sold on eBay, the most important phase of your mobile phone life cycle has probably ended. The search volume can however still be interesting for an upsell to the phone’s successor.

Link building: I seldom do link building in this latest phase of the phone life cycle. It is often much more interesting to re-use the acquired link value for the current top phone. Redirecting the old phone URL to the new model makes this possible. The old phone should however still have a dedicated page somewhere on your website.

Working in Phases

Whatever product you’re working on, phases from introduction to discontinuation are very common. Discover the life cycle of your products and tune your link building to the best link partners for each phase.

What sites rank in the top 10 in which phase, and what message or strategy have they used to do so? Try to be linked from these websites or emulate their strategy to attract similar links. Well-timed link building allows you to rank at the right time with half the effort.

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