There are a lot of questions around link building tactics these days, especially when it comes to how companies can actually build links that won’t get them in trouble. In fact, one of the most common questions I hear at conferences and from clients is, “How do you build good links?”
The answer, of course, varies by site and company but I thought for my column this month, I’d cover some tactics that we actually used last month to successfully build links for our clients.
1. Trade Show Interviews
Many of our clients are in the manufacturing industry, and while none are direct competitors, there is often some overlap when it comes to trade shows and events.
Last month, a few of these clients were either attending and/or exhibiting at the Modex Show in Atlanta. Several members of our team went down to get firsthand experience of what’s happening in the industry, conduct interviews with attendees and exhibitors, and get new material for blog content.
We were able to talk to manufacturers, distributors, attendees, and of course members of the client teams we hadn’t previously met.
The interviews resulted in multiple pieces of content for multiple clients, and more importantly, each piece of content was picked up by other sources, resulting in relevant links and traffic to their sites.
Now, I’ve talked before about building links through events, but this is a bit different, and there are some steps I recommend taking to set yourself up for success:
- Connect with the events team pre-conference. It’s important they know you’ll be there, and they can provide some information on what to expect.
- Identify companies you want to interview. Look at the exhibitor list or conference hashtag to see who will be there. Make a list of who you want to talk to and be sure to get client feedback and approval so you don’t waste anyone’s time. Don’t hesitate to reach out pre-show to set up some interview times.
- Have your questions ready. You aren’t going to want to wing it and you certainly don’t want to spend all that time interviewing people only to be left with an incomplete story. Make sure you write down what you plan on asking.
2. Partner Outreach
A client is a national distributor for a large manufacturer, but their website doesn’t offer much information about the manufacturer. One of the things we wanted to do was create some original content about the manufacturer and their products. To start the process, we decided to reach out to the manufacturer about obtaining any distributor/partner marketing collateral.
In doing the research for this, our team noticed the manufacturer had a blog… Do you see where this is going?
In our correspondence about the marketing collateral, we offered to have our client write a regular column on the blog, and the manufacturer accepted. While the link itself is awesome, the more valuable part of this, is the on-going relationship the client now has.
Just remember, it can’t hurt to ask.
3. Industry-Specific Advertising
We don’t do any paid link building but we’re always on the lookout for any and all advertising or promotional opportunities that may be helpful to our clients. Sometimes that means auditing their trade show calendar for marketing opportunities and other times, like last month, it’s a recommendation for a print ad.
We came across a very niche magazine in our client’s market that offers both a print and online version of their publication. Many of the client’s competitors are using it, and the rates were very reasonable. In investigating, we also saw that links were included for advertisers. In this scenario, the client gets both a print ad, and a new link to their site.
Even though this is technically a paid link and potentially offers no actual link value, it’s extremely relevant and will drive targeted traffic back to the site.
In the words of Alec Baldwin, “Always Be Linking.” Wait… that’s not what he said but the point is, always be on the lookout for linking opportunities. A print ad may not seem like a link-building tactic, but if you dig deeper, it just might be.
4. PR Integration
We write a lot of content for clients and even though we promote it and they promote it, the best scenario is when their PR team is also able to promote it.
A couple months ago, we wrote an article for a client’s site about 2014 industry trends. The post did pretty well through social but the real benefit came when the PR team got a hold of it last month.
They were able to repurpose it for a planned editorial, resulting in a high-quality link to the client’s site, and again, relevant traffic.
There are a number of articles out there about the integration of PR and SEO, but if you are interested in reading more, here are a couple references:
- 5 PR Strategies You Can Use To Build Links Right Now
- 5 Tips For Working With A PR Firm To Build Links
- An Eight-Step Plan to Get PR-Driven Links
5. SERP Analysis
SERP analysis is one of my favorite tried and true methods of link building. Last month, we took a client’s target keyword and performed a link analysis on several of the sites showing up in the search results.
We were able to find multiple link opportunities on everything from review sites to press opportunities to niche directories, many of which have now been realized.
The key to conducting a good SERP analysis is knowing when to not waste your time. Performing a link analysis on the eBay’s and Amazon’s of the word is virtually impossible, so focus on the sites you know.
Need more information on performing a link analysis? Here are a couple references:
- 30 Link Builders Discuss Backlink Analysis For Campaign Design
- Competitive Linking: Nine Simple Steps for Sucking Your Competitors Link Profiles Dry
See… It Can Be Done!
Of all the link building strategies we use, and of the ones mentioned above, there is nothing so mind blowing or difficult that every single person can’t do the same thing. For example, attending a trade show is something that people have been doing for decades. Attending a trade show with content and link building in mind, however, maybe isn’t something you’ve done. Give it a try!
And remember… build links that help your business and drive traffic that might actually convert.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.