For a lot of people, link building is a drag. It’s like going to the dentist or writing that tax check every quarter… you don’t really want to do it but you know you have to. It’s that drag factor that makes a lot of people look for short cuts and easy methods to hurry the process along and get maximum bang for the shortest buck. Unfortunately, if this is how you feel about linking, it will be difficult to communicate the kind of enthusiasm you need to entice customers and industry experts to link to you.
Some people think marketing means being cute or creating sizzle to attract attention and links. It might for the short term but long-term relationships aren’t built on short-term tactics. Being clever and controversial will attract attention but it doesn’t build trust, respect or increase the value of your service which is what you need to get links and business coming to you.
People often ask me, “what’s the best way to build links?” Most are looking for fast turn-key methods because they consider link building a necessary SEO evil instead of a long-term marketing opportunity. Heck, I look for easy solutions as well, but I also try not to get sucked into the swap-fast-blog-rich schemes out there because I know their effectiveness won’t last.
Here are a handful of the more foundational yet highly effective tactics anyone can use to jump-start linking efforts:
Refer & Recommend.. Getting recommendations and endorsements from highly visible industry experts almost eliminates the necessity of selling yourself and is the epitome of getting business in general to link to you. When you look at it from this point of view it makes sense to focus your efforts on getting links from the power players in your niche rather than chasing down reciprocal links or buying site-wide ads. Consider creating a company advisory board and invite the movers and shakers of your industry to be part of it. Tap into the collective business knowledge and link power these people hold.
Show and Tell. Whether you offer a service or product, dangle a carrot and give away something of value in exchange for the link. Step away from the mindset that you have to swap a link for a link and offer a free or lite version of your product as the incentive instead.
Expose Yourself. Now, now, not that kind of exposure! I mean the type of editorial exposure you get when you work the media. Explore alternative angles in addition to doing the standard press release submission. Write a letter to the editor of a newspaper, podcast, blog, periodical or trade publication in your niche about an issue that’s relevant to your business. Editors who are presented with well written cogent pieces will most likely reprint the piece and/or link to you in response. After all, everyone wants good content these days so make sure it’s yours their getting!
Link building is like anything else worth having— if you want the good stuff, you have to work for it. No matter what marketing tactic you use, it’s the passion and drive you have for your products and business that will be the single greatest element in attracting links to your website.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.