With the newest Google algorithm changes, penalties have been taken on many websites for unnatural and artificial linkbuilding tactics. This update hit websites that used black hat SEO practices particularly hard, but it also affected many seemingly appropriate linkbuilding strategies. Because of these changes, careful, strategic, and natural linkbuilding is more important than ever. In the first part of this blog series by Rebecca, she talked about building natural links through event sponsorship, answering questions, holding contests, attending industry trade shows, and using public relations tactics. Let’s take a look at some additional ways to build great natural links.
If you’d like to get the word out about a new products, reaching out to bloggers for a product review is a great idea. Many blogs regularly review products, services, and events, and offering a free item (or one at a significant discount) offers excellent incentive for bloggers to write about your new product. You can guide them to use the anchor text that you specify in order to maximize your links.
Another way to get links on product reviews is to search for existing reviews. Many blogs, such as The Impulsive Buy, specifically focus on reviewing brand new products found in the store. Once you find a blog post that already makes mention of your product, create a friendly and personalized email to contact the blogger about adding in a link. Setting Google Alerts is a handy way to monitor mentions of your brand, or products in your specific niche.
If your website is heavily dependent on pictures of clothes, design, beauty, entertainment, fashion, jewelry, photography, or food and recipes, your site is a natural fit for image sharing on Pinterest. Pinterest can generate great exposure for your brand through high quality, aesthetically pleasing photos of your products. It’s a great way to build a visual representation of your brand, find new followers who are interested in your products, and increase authority.
The trends in search engine optimization have been leading toward more social interaction, and Pinterest is a great way to communicate with people outside of your regular circles of interaction. The links on Pinterest became “nofollow” in March 2012, but that does not mean the links lack any value. Click-throughs on images on Pinterest are a great way to drive traffic to your site, especially now that Pinterest is the third most popular social network, behind Facebook and Twitter. In order for Pinterest to add value to your company, you need to be an online social butterfly. Be social, like, repin and comment on other users’ pins, and fly around to different pages to socialize with relevant users. Accounts that appear spammy will not gain a following like a comprehensive, personalized and organized Pinterest profile.
Legitimate Blog Networks
Before the changes of Panda, private blog networking websites like BuildMyRank.com, Unique Article Wizard, and SEOLinkVine were often used to bulk up link portfolios. In the past month, many of the links from these sites have either been deindexed or penalized. Does this mean that putting effort into any “blog network” site is a waste of time? Absolutely not.
There are many blog networks that are well-respected, moderated, and completely legitimate opportunities for linkbuilding. One of the most popular and robust blog networks is BlogHer. The site is geared toward women and divided up into several niches, such as family, sports, health, style, and tech. BlogHer operates an ad network to help bloggers monetize their blogs. They have stringent guidelines for what is posted on the site, where the links direct to, and have a no-tolerance policy for abuse and plagiarism. I have been a member of the BlogHer network for several years, and have not only found excellent content, but have created friendships and relationships with many bloggers within the network.
To join BlogHer, you just need to register for the website with your blog’s URL. Although the site has a feminine focus, there are male bloggers on the site as well. BlogHer does accept guest posted content, but they show preference to bloggers who are active in the network. Besides BlogHer, there are many other niche-specific blog networks. For instance, Entrepreneur.com accepts guest blog posts, is considered authoritative, and has a robust staff of industry experts on entrepreneurship. Search for networks within your niche or industry where you can interact with other users to gain credibility.
One great way to get the name of your brand out is through testimonials. Businesses love to get positive feedback, and asking them if they’d like a testimonial for their website is an excellent way to get your name and link on their site. They offer benefits to both the one who testifies, as well as the recipient. Testimonials are often placed on popular or important pages of a website, such as a homepage, which would be otherwise impossible with a standard link request. You can leverage existing relationships you have and ask if the site is interested in your feedback, and you will have a better chance getting a link by offering them something valuable.
What are some other tactics you use to build links using existing marketing strategies? I would love to hear your comments on how your linkbuilding has evolved, especially over the last few weeks since the most recent Google Panda and Penguin webspam updates.