After our 5 part series about optimizing your site for SEO, we got a high demand for more information about backlinking. We acknowledge why you want to know more about it- backlinks make your site look more popular to people, and therefore also more popular to search engines. The reason we did not include it in our series is that backlinking is a form of offsite SEO, which should be your last priority when optimizing your site for visitors, search engines or otherwise.
In a perfect world, backlinking would come as naturally as onsite SEO should. You would be making an effort to get your name out there on forums frequented by people that might be interested in what you are offering, you might have a video up on Youtube.com that helps make life easier for your potential clients or you might request a blogger review your product. These are all strategies with a dual purpose- getting your name out there to people who might be interested is your product or service is your primary purpose, and backlinking comes as a natural perk of those efforts. To manage your time efficiently, we recommend you base your backlinking strategy on making an effort to connect with the people that will appreciate your product or service.
The way to get the best quality backlinks without wasting your time is to forget about getting backlinks at all. By using effective online marketing and relationship building strategies you will build up backlinks naturally. The following are four marketing and communication strategies that double as effective ways to get backlinks to your site. We highly suggest you use them to get the eyes of qualified buyers onto your site and also improve your reputation to search engine crawlers.
In it’s essence, social media marketing is the online way of calling a friend and telling them about something cool you saw in the online world. When your company does something totally awesome, relevant, or interesting, you can share it with whoever might be a friend to your company. When you post relevant and interesting content in your social media campaigns users will bookmark you and share your link with friends who they think might be interested. The better your content is, the more people will share the link on social media platforms bringing more qualified guests back to your site. So, ask yourself what is ‘shareable’ information that you can offer every time you post something.
Search engines will look at the page everyone is linking to on your social media sites and think “wow, that page offers something great, I better give it a high ranking.” Voila! The key to this and all techniques in both the on and offline world is to make sure your products or services is worth talking about or that the content you feature that is somehow related to your products or services, is worth worth talking about.
Keep in mind that people don’t want to be “sold”. Offer the reader information they came searching for. This may mean that you actually don’t mention your products or services in your social media content at all. Find information that is related or relevant to what you have to offer, and that readers are interested in, and “talk” about those things. You may not drive readers to be interested in your products or services the first time they experience your social media content, but if you offer something worthwhile, you have just taken a baby step towards creating brand awareness with the reader, and the more likely they’ll come back to experience more of your content which will give you more opportunities to reach new customers.
So, hop to it! If you have not already, make sure you create relevant profiles on popular social networking sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook. You will have to do a lot of footwork constantly uploading and updating relevant photos and videos on sites such as Flickr and YouTube in order to increase online presence. The footwork will be worth it because you are not only creating backlinks, but creating relationships with people who are interested in your voice.
You should already be involved in forums that cover topics related to your business. This is a great strategy to stay in tune with your customers that you didn’t have the opportunity to harness before the Internet came around. People who are involved in forums are usually the most active in your particular industry overall. They are obviously interested in what you offer and use their computers as a resource. Communicating with people in relevant forums about your product of service gives them the opportunity to ask questions and you the chance to know what your customers want on the ground level. This is awesome qualitative research!
If you are not involved in relevant forums yet, we can help you dip your toes in. First, start a new thread on related forums or reply to already existing threads. Don’t push your links from the outset. Actually, never push your links in forums because you will ruin your reputation. If your product or service is relevant to a thread, then you can offer your link as a helpful resource.
Forums are also a really great place to offer discounts. For example, I participate in mountain bike forums to find out the best places to ride my bike. At some point I needed new mountain bike tires so I started a thread asking which tires would be best for my needs, what experiences people have had with different brands, etc. I got a lot of useful information from other forum members, and at some point one of them mentioned they sell mountain bike tires and offer a discount to forum members. I was able to get a good deal and be sure I was getting the right tires at the same time. I even sent the link to a friend sometime later who was looking at getting some racing tires.
Get involved in forums and other things your potential customers are involved in online. The benefits of doing so are insightful and have the added perk of increasing back links and your search engine ranking.
Link baiting is the art of using incentives online. If you are offering something to enrich the lives of people on your site, expecting nothing in return…you are likely to get a lot of attention. The key to link baiting holistically is to offer something relevant that will not hurt your bottom line. In our industry, whitepapers are a good way to get people to share links. If the information in the white paper is valuable to us, we are going to share that information that puts us ahead of our competition with our peers by sharing the link to the whitepaper with them.
Most common link baiting strategies include contests, provide something useful free of cost or talk about a controversial topic. You can use anything that might help attract user attention and we recommend you use creativity and stay relevant. You can always offer a free Ipod Nano on your mountain bike tires site for people who sign up for your newsletter. A more effective strategy would be to offer a free set of tires, a ticket to a pre screening of a mountain biking film or a short synopsis of the injury and death rates of mountain bikers. The main objective of link baiting is to provide something really unique and useful so as to motivate each and every user to naturally link back to the page where you offer the incentive.
You should ‘link bait’ every single time you share a link to your site. Give people a reason to click on the link in the first place and make sure you satisfy whatever you promised them when they get there so they share the link with friends. That is not a strategy for back linking but for online marketing in general. If you do it properly, back links will follow.
Having a blog on your site gives you way to show that your company continues to be relevant in your industry by producing new and fresh content regularly. Some people will come to trust you and might even subscribe to your blog. If you do a really great job other sites and blogs will reference your posts and site in general as having information relevant in your industry. Your blog can also be a great place for your guests to give feedback and create a community with one another on a relevant topic. You can promote your blog using RSS feeds will help achieve even better results since it will increase not only site traffic, but also the number of resulting backlinks.
You now know that the online marketing strategies you already have in play should be helping you to create backlinks naturally. You should focus on these techniques and spend your resources wisely by creating backlinks while increasing the rapport surrounding your company in the online world. For everyone that has unlimited time and resources, we will publish a backlinking cheat sheet for you soon. The cheat sheet will include a long list of back linking strategies and relevant links- not all of which are safe or holistic. In the meantime, what are your preferred backlinking strategies? Do you need help ranking your site in search engines or optimizing your site for your guests? If you are overwhelmed with all the work that needs to go into your site, we are here to help you prioritize and start converting.