Link building strategies are a part of any successful search engine optimization marketing campaign. With Goggle's newest algorithm update, it's more important than ever to go after natural links which can help drive traffic to your site and improve your rankings in the search engines.
Natural links are gained when people find your website, product or service useful, interesting, relevant and important and link to your site for those reasons. Companies with existing marketing, public relations and social media strategies already in place should be on the lookout for link building opportunities to maximize efforts.
Here are a few examples about how to gain natural links through strategies that your company might already be doing (or can be doing):
Sponsor an Event
Sponsoring an event allows your company to show support for a cause you believe in and get your brand in front of a niche- targeted audience. Events are a fun way to grow a mutually beneficial relationship.
At SEO.com we host WordPress meet-ups every month. The meet-ups are open to employees and non-employees, developers, designers, SEOs and anyone who wants to learn more about WordPress. Not only are our meet-ups a great place for our employees to network and learn from others who are in a similar industry, the meet-ups also benefit our company as a whole. When people are talking about the past or future meet-ups they naturally link to our site. The same concept works with our free webinars in the way that being involved in an event will naturally make people talk about you.
Corporate sponsorship of a collaborative event (such as a marathon, street carnival, beer festival etc.) is also beneficial for building valuable relationships. Relevance is the main key to sponsoring these types of events. For example, my co-worker organized The Front Runner Century, a fun 62- mile bike ride in Salt Lake (in which I will be riding!) and one of their main sponsors is a bike shop in Salt Lake called Canyons Sports. Canyons sports will provide support vehicles and help with bike repairs during the ride and the Front Runner Century has linked to their site and suggested that as a great place for a bike tune before the event. (This paragraph is a perfect example about how talking about events and linking works).
An event organizer for any collaborative event should have no problem placing a link on the event’s website with information about your product or service and post about your company through their social media outlets. As an added link bonus you can write a guest post for the event’s blog about your sponsorship involvement and the passion you have about the event and link to pages on your website.
Be a Useful Source of Information
Your company can set yourself apart as an expert by providing useful information about your industry, service or product while you naturally increase traffic to your site. This highly- informative article is a great example of how SEO.com is doing just that, and if you find this article interesting you will hopefully link to it, tweet it or share it. All shameless plugs aside, there are two main places on your website where you can provide useful information:
- On a Business Blog: On your business blog you can answer questions, promote conversation, write about timely topics, increase brand awareness and build natural internal links to other pages on your site.
- On a Q & A Page: A Q&A page is a simple way to update your website with new content and information. You’ll also be able to add internal links naturally to other pages that provide information pertaining to the question. And if you can answer great questions like how to build natural links, other websites will link to you.
Besides providing information on your own website there are ways to provide useful information else-where on the Internet:
- Quora: Quora is a question and answer site that allows people to find information from experts in electronics, economy, ecommerce, business and just about any other topic you can think of. Inc.com wrote a nice article about how to use Quora for Buisness.
- Social Media Outlets: Channels like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn are all places that people go to look for information. For example, if I want to know the set list for a concert I recently went to, I might post a comment on Explosions in the Sky’s Facebook page. They probably wouldn’t get back to me since 95% of businesses don’t answer their Facebook wall posts. Although companies are not obligated to respond to wall posts, engagement is one of the main goals of social media and a simple response goes a long way. Companies have an opportunity to show they care and maybe even turn a fan into an ambassador.
- InboxQ is great little application that helps you find questions on Twitter that you can answer and help build your following.
By answering a question on a social media site, more times than not you will be able to gain a link, but more importantly you’ll gain a relationship.
Run a Contest
By running a sweepstakes, contest or giveaway on your site, you’ll be able to drive traffic to your website and social media sites, generate leads, engage customers, gain customer insight and increase brand awareness. If you come up with a great contest idea, bloggers will want to write about your contest and users will want to share your link through their social media outlets.
- Essay Contest: Create a contest for bloggers to write a creative essay about your product.
- Photo or Video Contest: Photo or video contest for most creative way to use your product. Post best photos and videos on your website and social media outlets.
- Name a Product Contest: Best name for a new product wins that product. Have users vote on their favorite idea. Once the winner is picked write a blog post featured around their idea.
Attend an Industry Tradeshow
Industry trade shows are a great place to network with other professionals in your industry. Before you head to the tradeshow, consider writing a report about new findings and statistics in your industry. You’ll not only be providing valuable information, you’ll also set yourself apart as an industry leader. Place the information on your website so the trade show and other companies can find your study easily and link to it. You can also speak on behalf of your business at the show in which the tradeshow will naturally link to your company’s site.
Use Public Relations Tactics
I wrote about SEO press releases in a previous post, which are also a great way to gain media exposure and coverage on new sites that choose to publish a press release that contains links. Press releases are one small aspect of public relations and way to reach out to the media.
Another way to build relationships in your community through public relations efforts could be to run a blogger event. A company could invite a group of bloggers into their factory or office and teach them about their company’s eco-friendly practices. The more positive things that a company does, the more opportunities they open up for people talking about them (and linking to them).
My co-worker Nicole Bullock will write a Part 2 about more great ways to naturally build links. I’d love to hear about how your company has used traditional marketing techniques and as a result gained great exposure and links.