Digital strategy: discover the secret formula for building links

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There are many ways to build up a successful collection of links for your site. Before we get started though, let me be clear: links represent relationships and connections. Therefore, before you try to source links, focus on building relationships and delivering value. Pursuing links solely for SEO purposes without established relationships based on trust can damage your reputation, and lead to low quality, spammy links.

Broadly speaking, there are five main ways to build links:

  1. Content creation
  2. Brand mentions
  3. Business directories
  4. Partnerships
  5. Community involvement

Content creation – There are two ways that you can repurpose your existing content to maximise link opportunities. The first is repurposing your old content to create a series of short videos. Once you have created your videos, you can upload them to video sharing sites like Vimeo and YouTube. Make sure to include a video summary/description under the video that uses long-tail keywords and includes a link back to your website for best results.

The second innovative way to use your content to generate links is to create a resource page on your website. It could be a resource page of small businesses in your area or it could be a niche-specific information-rich resource page. Either way, consider partnering with other local businesses or subject matter experts to develop and curate the best resources and spread the word. If the information proves itself to be useful, you will soon find that other businesses or community groups start linking to your site (even competitors!)

Brand mentions – Online mentions are the one of the easiest ways to gain links. Simply track mentions of your:

  • Brand name
  • Products
  • Sponsored events
  • Prominent employees
  • Slogans and taglines
  • News related to your business actions (e.g. mergers and acquisitions)

You can do this by using tools like Google Alerts, Critical Mention, Trackur or BuzzSumo. Reach out to companies or individuals that have mentioned your business and ask them to include a link back to your site. Make sure you explain how doing so can be beneficial to them by providing more context to their audience.

Business directories – Being listed in relevant business directories can help send you valuable referral traffic and increase your SEO. However, not all directories are created equal. Some directories have fallen prey to abuse and spam so ensure that you investigate the quality of any directory before listing in it. The best directories will be ones that have high traffic, content that is audited by a gatekeeper for quality control, a very specific focus and good domain/page authority metrics. You should also ensure that the directory is indexed and cached by Google.

Partnerships – If you have strong links and relationships with other businesses or professional organisations offline then these should be reflected online too. Real-world partners are the ideal links to include on your website. Once you have included a link to partners on your site, reach out to them and ask them to link back to you as well.

Community involvement – Most businesses give back to their community in some way. Whether you sponsor a kid’s footy club, donate your meeting space free of charge to a non-profit group or give a percentage of your sales proceeds to a charity, this opens doors for link opportunities. Proudly display your community involvement on your website and include links to the organisations you support. Then reach out to these clubs and charities and ask them to do the same. Never sponsor something solely so you can build links – that’s the wrong mindset. Instead, make sure that the existing events and partnerships you have are reflected online as well as offline.

Additional link-building opportunities
There are also some lesser known opportunities that you can pursue to develop links. These include:

Help A Reporter Out (HARO) – HARO is a site used by journalists to obtain reputable sources and experts to interview for their stories. By signing up as a source and sharing your industry knowledge, you effectively get free press coverage. If the information you provide to a reporter is used in their story, you will be mentioned in the article and this will give you a valuable link.

Blog/forum comments – Do you comment on news articles, blog posts or sites like Quora and Reddit? If so, instead of using a pseudonym, use your real name and include a link to your business’ website. Many sites give you the ability to enter external website links when you post comments and this builds your link profile diversity in Google. However, be mindful of the comments you post, and consider whether anything you say might create negative publicity for your company.

Speak at an event – Public speaking is an often overlooked marketing tool. Local community groups (e.g. Lions Club, Rotary, Chambers of Commerce and schools) are frequently in need of speakers for events. Speaking at events helps build your brand’s reputation and you will likely gain a significant number of backlinks from press releases related to the event.

While this information is fresh in your mind, block out a time in your diary this week to implement some of these suggestions or delegate these tasks to a team member. Knowledge is power, but remember that the greatest power comes from taking action.

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Luke Chaffey
Luke Chaffey is a senior member of the KBB Digital team, and heads up the search marketing division. With a keen eye on innovation and developing digital trends, Luke regularly attends the Google Partners Masterclass, and is also a prolific writer for websites such as Yahoo, The Australian Government (Digital Business sector), Kochie’s Business Builders, Smarter.Digital, KBB Digital.

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