LMS Link Management System

LMS Link Management System by Search Sciences



Home :: Solutions :: Linking Solutions :: LMS Link Management System

LMS Link Management System by Search Sciences

LMS Link Management System

"The LMS linking system is the best we've seen . . .by far."
European Head of Search, Online Media

"LMS has taken the headache out of linking for us. Endless partners, dialogues, tracking . . .all handled by the system and the Search Sciences team and yet our link partners are comfortable because all interactions are in our name."
Group Marketing Director, Price Comparison


The LMS Link Management System
Anyone who has ever tried to run their own linking campaign will recognise the degree of work involved. LMS was designed from the outset to handle as much of the donkey work at each stage as possible without compromising the elements that require human assessment and intervention.
“LMS is designed to quietly, safely and efficiently build a search engine-friendly natural link structure for a client . . . as if you employed in-house linking experts to manage the process by hand . . . but at a fraction of the cost”
LMS was originally written to handle linking for our own publishing network. We had tried using a variety of linking tools but had found them to be either cumbersome to implement or over simplified and restrictive. In some cases, the tools were also far too visible to the search engines, with the ever-present threat of a penalty for appearing too 'link friendly'. Having seen the success of our own linking campaigns, a number of merchants and partners asked us to run campaigns on their behalf . . . and thus Search Sciences was born.

Whilst some elements of LMS date back as far as 2000, the system's core components were built during 2003-4. This section summarises some of the system's main functions and key benefits. It isn't possible to cover the system in its entirety here: LMS today is comprised of hundreds of modules and literally hundreds of thousands of lines of server code located on multiple servers and multiple domains.

Quick Links
This section is rather lengthy so we have provided some quick links below which will take you straight to points of interest.

Principal benefits / highlights
Identifying potential partners
Approaching potential partners
Managing exclusions
Publishing links
The LMS Model
Building a natural link structure
Tracking and chasing down back links
Centralised data acquisition
Visibility, reporting and the Client Portal
LMS technology

Principal benefits / highlights
As with all systems, LMS has evolved and matured over time. Best practices change and the system changes with them. LMS has also been extended to include ever more options as our clients and campaigns continue to grow in sophistication. Current highlights include:-
  • Built for search engine friendliness ensuring that all links are published in pure HTML whilst avoiding the "footprint" left by low end linking solutions which runs the risk of a ranking penalty.
    • Anchor text control is designed to ensure random rotation between a number of variants of a particular phrase, again in avoiding potential penalties for too many inbound links with identical anchor text.
    • Creation of a natural link structure which would eventually occur over time for a good quality site: namely a healthy mixture of inbound only, outbound only and reciprocal links - precisely the structure the search engines are looking for.
    • In-depth relevancy and quality control over all links, again essential in ensuring that you link equity has the desired long term effect: it is all about quality, not quantity.
  • Centralised intelligence with all campaigns across all sectors contributing to LMS` knowledge base, ensuring ever more accurate and effective management of exclusions and targeting of potential link or affiliate partners
  • Deeply configurable to support client-specific standards, layouts and specific requirements yet remaining stable and scalable
  • Communication "as the client" - a key thread running through all of our solutions to ensure maximum conversion rates and acceptance by third parties
  • Deep integration with our content management system and its underlying BMS Brief Management System to support, amongst other things, content-for-link-trading
  • Cross platform support allowing us to deploy the client components of LMS on Windows classic ASP, ASP.NET and Linux / PHP web servers, determined by client preferences and configurations
  • Static page support allowing content or links to be published even on static HTML pages using a template / re-create approach
  • Robust remote management of published content / links using a secure two step call-retrieve approach
  • Sophisticated exclusions system to ensure that opt-out requests including CAN-SPAM for US and international clients are promptly and accurately respected and that sites known not to link; to link poorly; or to behave in an otherwise unacceptable fashion are excluded from campaigns [Back to top]
Identifying potential partners
Our entire targeting process is driven by the relevance of a potential partner's site for target search terms. We thus drive the search for partners by rankings in the major search engines. Where appropriate and technically possible, LMS interacts directly with the search engines using their Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to make this process more efficient. Our linking teams use the LMS Link Research Portal (LRP) which is a significant application in its own right (some 38 modules) to drive and control the search process. The LRP also ensures that sites that have been previously targeted within a specified period are not re-targeted to avoid creating ill-will. It uses the LMS exclusions system (see below) to accommodate opt-outs and sites that are not appropriate targets for a host of other reasons, even if they are strongly ranked in the search engines. [Back to top]

Approaching potential partners
Email remains the only economically viable way of approaching potential link or affiliate partners. Since most sites now understandably protect themselves against bulk unsolicited email, this requires considerable effort. All of the techniques we use are ethical and adhere to best practice. All offer the recipient an opt-out / unsubscribe option and, for US and international clients, include CAN-SPAM compliance. All client emails are sent "as the client", generally from the client's own mail servers and from an email address created specially for the purpose. This goes a long way towards improving acceptance rates in contrast to emails overtly sent from third party link building firms. We have our own proprietary email handling technologies to identify the most appropriate email address to use for a given site (often using existing LMS data) and a sophisticated bounce handling system to cater for any failed email deliveries. The LMS Bounce Handling Portal allows the linking team to hand check and identify alternative email addresses or to use contact forms as appropriate in ensuring maximum delivery rates and thus conversion rates. [Back to top]

Managing exclusions
LMS includes a global exclusions system wherein link partner behaviour is captured across all engagements and sites known to break common rules (some 25 different criteria) are added to the exclusions system by our linking team. These include the use of common spam techniques, poor linking practices and of course those who have opted out at a site, campaign, client or indeed global level. Exclusions management is a key part of the overall data acquisition process -- the more work LMS does, the smarter it gets. [Back to top]

Publishing links
LMS includes the automatic publishing (with manual quality control) and management of ‘deep’ links on relevant pages on client sites – even on ‘static’ HTML pages using a template / replace approach. Deep linking, where possible, is widely held to be far better than links pages and directories and thus helps with conversion rates with link partners. The LMS publishing technology uses a secure two step call-retrieve approach in remotely updating the links displayed on the client's site. All links are created using standard HTML but layouts are configured to ensure they fit with clients' standards and site formats, including the use of CSS classes where available. [Back to top]

The LMS Model
LMS Conceptual Model
Fig. 1 - LMS - A Conceptual Model [Back to top]


Building a natural link structure
The search engines, particularly Google, look for and reward a "natural link structure". This is a balanced mixture of outbound links, inbound links and reciprocal links. LMS has been specifically designed to support all of these elements:-
  • Three way or "triangular" linking can be handled in both directions. Three way linking is more fully described in our section on linking campaigns and is a perfectly legitimate approach provided that all sites are on-topic. Essentially, we have some clients who have more than one site with some level of relevance across the sites. LMS can offer a link partner a link FROM our client site A and ask for a return link to site B. Inversely, where a link partner has more than one site, LMS can offer a link to the partner’s site A and monitor for a return link from partner site B. All of this helps with the balancing between inbound-only, outbound only and reciprocal links which is essential from a search engine perspective.
  • Outbound only links to authority sites can be readily published using standard LMS publishing technology and, much as many find this surprising, will add ranking value in their own right.
  • Inbound only links from relevant sites can be achieved through a combination of our content syndication services and through content-for-link trading where we offer a potential link partner the option of a content piece on a subject relevant to both their site and that of the client. This content piece includes a single relevant text link back to the client’s site. This way, once the partner has published the content, they benefit from some free, unique and relevant content and our client gets a hard-to-get relevant inbound link from a genuine content page. Because LMS is tightly integrated with our CMS Content Management System used in all of our content production offerings, we are able to efficiently request and manage the production of this content and send it to the partner for publishing as soon as it is ready. As with all LMS links, we then track the publishing of the content to ensure it goes live. [Back to top]
Tracking and chasing down back links
LMS includes complex workflow, email and dialogue management facilities which allow the tracking and chasing of return links; removing links for those that do not respond; the ongoing monitoring of return links (some sites have a nasty habit of trading links and removing them later or even switching site themes). The Return Link Checking System checks for return links and updates the LMS central database with return link status and wider information including the anchor text used in the link, the page rank of the page on which the link is placed. It also monitors for certain poor practices including the use of redirects, nofollow tags etc. [Back to top]

Centralised data acquisition
LMS automatically determines and stores key data on link partners including Google Page Rank and traffic (Alexa) ranking data where available. All transactions with every target site and link partner are recorded in all campaigns, building a substantial database. The more campaigns we run, the more we know about the performance and behaviour of given link partners. The active portion of the internet is not as big as many believe, with LMS now having profile data on a significant percentage of sites in many markets and industry sectors. All of this information can be used when targeting for client campaigns and for analytical purposes. For many sites, we have working contact details (which are becoming ever harder to obtain as sites defend themselves against spam mail), we know where the partner is likely to publish links, what the page rank of the page on which they will be published is likely to be and of course the ranking data for the site's home page, together with its traffic rank. In many cases, we also know how long it is likely to take a given partner to publish a link! [Back to top]

Visibility, reporting and the Client Portal
Search firms have often been criticised for poor visibility. Big invoices, little detail. LMS was designed from its inception to provide in-depth access for clients. Whilst some clients simply want high level summary information, others want the detail. As an online system, LMS provides 24/7 access to both reporting and detailed transactional information. Indeed, our linking teams use exactly the same interface to drive all linking activities. [Back to top]

LMS technology
For those of you with an interest in technology, the principal LMS components are written in classic Windows ASP and reside on dedicated Windows servers. LMS is a distributed system with some satellite components written in ASP .NET. Client components are a mixture of classic ASP, Windows .NET and PHP, allowing us to deploy on almost any server configuration. LMS uses a centrally located MySQL database. There are no database components on client sites. Remote updates and publishing functions are performed using a proprietary secure two step call-retrieve approach involving MSXMLHTTP for Windows or cURL for Linux / PHP. [Back to top]


Back to top of LMS Link Management System Page

© 2004-2021 Search Sciences LLP, All Rights reserved
All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.