Recently a number of our clients have voiced a similar concern. With all the talk of the changing face of SEO, how do we adapt? How do we get those high quality, natural links that will determine if we thrive or die in a future where quality matters more than ever? It's a challenge not all businesses are equipped to handle, but here's one dead simple way you can embrace the changes and benefit.
Be Honest - Is Your Business Worth Talking About?
In the last six months, did your business create anything that caused people to turn their heads and take notice? I mean a product, a piece of content, a video series, a service, or anything else at all? If you can't honestly answer yes, then why would anybody want to link to you? Duke Cannon is a perfect (but crass) example of a company that gets this, and boy are they getting links for it. Forgive me for getting so basic, but we have to get this out of the way. Natural links go to businesses that are making people talk. Do that.
Ok, that's out of the way.
Go Find The People Talking About You
Assuming you create some kind of buzz with your products or content, you'll come across people talking about you. If you're big, invest in social media monitoring like Trackur to see what they're saying and where they're saying it. If you're just getting going, set up a few Google Alerts around your brand name and keywords. Stay on top of what they're saying because you might want to reach out to one of them (I'll give you a good example of how to do this in a minute). And also, you should be where they are. If people talk about you on Twitter, you need to be there too.
Contact Those People
When you come across that glowing review of your new product, promptly contact the author. Tell them you're grateful they wrote the review, and be generous with your praise. They may have even linked to you in their review, but if not, find a nice way to ask them to. They already love what you do, so they'll probably support you if you tell them how much a link would help you.
Give Them Something
If you really want to make the person happy, send them some swag. Ask for their address, shirt size, etc., and tell them to expect some free stuff in the mail. This will take their reaction from "Oh how nice they thanked me for the mention" to "Wow, I didn't expect that!". Will they be more willing to spread the word about you? Probably.
Here's how this works in the real world.
Some time ago, I bought a burrito at the local Sunflower Farmer's Market. In a frozen section full of mediocre packaging, this burrito stood out. I took it home, ate it, and marveled at how delicious it was. I checked the wrapper and found information about ingredient sourcing, which prompted me to go to their very attractive website to learn more. From store to website, the brand experience was great, so I blogged about it.
Shortly afterward, I received a nice comment from a company representative. She thanked me for writing the generous post and asked for my address so she could sent me free stuff. I was thrilled! I assumed a sweet t-shirt was on its way, so imagine my surprise when I opened the mailbox and found a load of coupons for free burritos! They wowed me, and I told people about it. If I hadn't already included a link to their site from my post, I would have done it right then. I've since connected with them on social networks, and I continue to buy their products.
And here's how this all ties together.
I started out by writing I would show you a way you move toward getting more quality, natural links. You'll get those links by creating amazing things, and what's more, by making people happy. I don't know if the burrito company has a social media manager that tracks company mentions, or even if they get 100 reviews written about them every day. What I care about, and what caused me to link to them and spread the word, is that they made a great product and they cared enough to reach out and reward me handsomely for my post.
If your business is accustomed to doing things like they've always been done, it's time to change that. If you can't create a new product right now, then write content that rises to the top. Make videos that you would share socially if you were the customer. Do those sort of things and people will give you attention. They'll make it easy for you to reach out and thank them (and ask for the link if you like).
You deserve the links you get. If you want more, be better. Do you have examples of other businesses doing it right?