Link development remains one of the most important aspects of any search engine optimisation campaign. Whilst the mechanism of acquiring links may have changed over the last couple of years, the desire for good quality link certainly hasn’t. A few years ago, many search engine marketing experts could acquire links via various directories (paid and otherwise) and via various paid link networks such as TextLinkAds (and for some sectors the use of various link networks (no names mentioned of course )
These days Google is a lot more fussy about what it determines to provide value in terms of linkage. Many sites have seen a significant impact on performance as Google tweaks its algorithm accordingly. For that reason we have put together a list of link acquisition tactics, ranging from simple to implement to the more far out suggestions.
Get Creative with your link building
- Use badges. For example – If you are a retailer who has resellers who sell on line. Let them put an ‘authorised reseller’ badge on their website with a link back to your website.
- Provide something useful – For example – mortgage provide -> Mortgage Calculator, Debt Specialist – Outgoings overview. One of the best blog related examples is how much is my blog worth
- Develop a useful tool (and don’t forget to promote it) – SEO is full of such examples. Using for example Joost De Valk @ Yoast.com – developing wordpress tools or Dave Naylor’s multi-browser SEO Tool
- Offer awards – for example Lee Oddens BigList of search marketing blogs (PS Any chance of an add Lee )
- Hold a contest. One only has to look at the success of HP’s 31 days of the dragon campaign to see this in action. Not only did they see significant increases in sales, but a significant increase in linkage as well for both them – and the people involved
- Acknowldege good work by others. Our recent post on ‘10 UK search marketing people you should be following on Twitter‘ has not only enjoyed significant buzz, but also generated a nice amount of inbound linkage
- Promote Local relevant activities. Local Conferences, charities etc could be great ways of doing this.
Don’t forget the basics of search engine marketing
- Submit to Quality directories only. Paul Teitelman over at SearchEnginePeople has compiled a great list of good directories
- Submit your blog posts to search engine friendly social media
- Swap links with partners, suppliers and related business. This can have secondary benefits in terms of credibility and the like - For example – http://www.tesco.com/clubcard/clubcard/partners/?page=EONEnergy
- Distribute your offline press releases online. Services such as Marketwire and PRNewswire will allow you to target both national and regional news sources, as well as online news sources including Associated Press.
- Distribute articles to article sites. Not everything is newsworthy so a range of different sources is always good
- Engage with blogs. I use again the example of the HP ’31 days of the dragon’ campaign which used 31 prominent blogs to promote their products. Perhaps send a product sample of your product to key blogs – ie if you are a chocolate blog – you may send a product sample to various food or chocolate blogs to see what they think.
- Trade articles with other webmasters. Donna Fontenot aka Dazzlin Donna recently did a great article on ‘How to create No-Fail Hot Content’
- Search for sites with dofollow ‘trackbacks’ and link to some of their blog posts. Google for example is great for this – and a great source of subsequent traffic.
- Study competitors banklinks via Yahoo Site Explorer, and request backlinks from many of the same sources. Competitor Analysis can be a great source of links you may not have considered
- Include links in your RSS footers, so content scaped from your site contains links back to you.
- Don’t forget other blended search opps. Video and Images on sites can be a good source of traffic and potentially linkage. For example lets not forget the Cadbury’s Gorilla ads from last year.
- Don’t forget to submit your blog to RSS feed directories
- Linkbaiting can be a great way to get linkage – however it is not without risk
- If you have other sites – don’t forget to link to them. Don’t overdo this but it makes sense for customers not just search engines
- Work with affiliates, maybe even go as far as developing your own search engine friendly affiliate scheme.
- Don’t forget to offer secondary support, social media platforms that arent SEO friendly may still offer secondary promotional opps (ie Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook etc)
- Develop whitepapers
- Participate in survery and questionnaires. Good responses can often be included in any subsequent promotion
- Build definitive lists and resources for others (This being just one such example)
- Offer to do guest posts on other peoples blogs. For example I do guest posts for both Marketing Pilgrim and E-Consultancy
- Develop guides as to how something can be done – For example MoneySupermarkets top ten ways to cut insurance costs
- Release unique research results – For example iProspects study into ‘Offline channel behaviour on Online Search behaviour‘
- Be the first to news stories – For example the Blogstorm/Nokia/I-Spy comment spamming story that broke late in 2008
- Comment on the blogs of others in your industry, or those of related sites. Not all blog comment links are no follow
- Engage in speaking opportunities. For example – many of the sessions at SES/SMX are covered on various blogs and forums.
- Get yourself known by industry, national and regional media. This may result in ongoing coverage and a regular source of linkage. In the UK this may include NMA and the like.
- Search keyword “add url”, keyword “add site”, and don’t forget to add your site to those sites
One thing is apparent when looking at the list above. SEO has become more closely aligned with traditional marketing practises than ever before. SEO is not about automated link acquisition, SEO is a social activity. Anything less is likely to result in reduced performance and ultimately a short lived campaign.
Think, be creative and ultimately enjoy your link building.
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