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Executing a link building plan requires organization during your outreach efforts, as well as a way to monitor the progress of building new links over time. One tool that can be really helpful in managing your link building prospects is Raven Tools. Raven Tools has a lot of features to help you with the overall Internet marketing efforts, but one that's particularly useful is the Link Manager. The Link Manager Tool helps you manage your outreach efforts, allowing you to track your progress from the moment you decide you want to try to get a particular link, until well after it's been up and found by the search engines.
You can assign the status of the outreach, what kind of link it is, and who in your organization has the responsibility for this link. You can enter the website you're reaching out to, and you can also add the URL and anchor text of any links you generate, which the tool will monitor over time, providing uptime status and link value reporting. You can also enter the contact information of the person you're working with to gain this particular link, and you can add any additional details around the process, conversations you've had, and an overall progress report in the Description tab.
As you start identifying link opportunities and building relationships with the different people out there that can help you turn them into realities, you might find that you're juggling a lot at any given time. Using a tool like Raven to keep track of everything with tidy, sortable, and filterable lists can really help keep this process organized and on track. As you gain links over time, the other thing you'll want to determine is whether or not these links are increasing the overall authority of your site. One tool you can use to get a current snapshot of the value of your current links is the Open Site Explorer tool from SEOmoz.
Just enter any one of your URLs, and you'll be able to see a numeric representation of both the domain's authority, as well as the specific page you've typed in. To get some rich historical backlink data, you can use the Backlink History feature from yet another tool called Majestic SEO. This will give you some insightful trend graphs to let you know how strong your link outreach is performing over periods of time, and looking at the Cumulative View can help you see how you're progressing. You can even compare yourself to up to four of your competitors to see what they're up to, and how you stack up.
Being organized in your outreach efforts and having access to link performance information will give you control over your efforts and data to measure how you're doing over time. Having these tools and processes in place is a key part of maintaining the ongoing forward momentum that you need to keep building high-quality links.
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