With so much of link building focused on creating actual relationships these days, the idea that you can build high-quality links without people seems preposterous. Yes, I know there are still things like directories and post submissions but, come on… a real person has to approve those, right?
Building relationships can be tough, but trust me when I tell you — there are actually people out there who want to help you. Even better…you might already know them! You just have to know where to look:
1. The Person Talking About You
One of the most basic link building tactics is identifying existing brand mentions that don’t contain a link. Why? Because the author already chose to write about you! There’s no convincing them they should write about your brand or product and the only real effort they have to take is adding the link.
There are a couple of great posts out there around acquiring unlinked mentions and I suggest checking them out:
- Guide to Using Unlinked Brand Mentions for Link Acquisition
- How to Use SEOmoz Fresh Web Explorer with BuzzStream
- 9 Things We Should Never Stop Doing in Link Building
2. The Person Who Wants To Talk About You
With over 2 billion pages on the web and the constant push for fresh content, people are always in search of new things to write about. I know I am. The key is finding those people who are looking to write a story…about you! A few key tactics include:
- Editorial monitoring
- Twitter monitoring
- HARO queries
Need some more ideas? Be sure to check out 5 PR Strategies You Can Use To Build Links Right Now and An Eight-Step Plan to Get PR-Driven Links for suggestions on how to find link opportunities from reporters and bloggers.
Employees can be one of the most powerful link building assets a company can have. They (ideally) like their job, like the company, and want to tell their friends about where they work. If you can get your employees to blog, they are also extremely likely to share their posts across multiple platforms.
At my old company, we actually sent out an email giving people tips on how they could link to the company site. This included:
- Email Signatures
- Social Networks
- Personal Sites
How else can you get your employees talking about you? Take a look at the following posts for some tips and motivation:
4. Friends & Family
Last year, Scarborough Research reported that there were 3.9 million moms in the US that identified themselves as bloggers. A Google search today for “mommy bloggers” shows over 8 million results. Is your mom one of those people? Is your friend one of those moms?
Friends and family can be the most underrated relationships used in link building. We likely hesitate to ask because they are our friends or family. But think about it — the average Facebook user has 130 friends while 21% of LinkedIn users have between 500-999 connections. The connections of your friends and family may go further than you think, so don’t hesitate to ask.
Oh, and don’t forget about your industry friends! One of my favorite parts about working in the search marketing industry is the people and their willingness to share relevant content.
One of my favorite topics when it comes to link building is word-of-mouth and the power of the customer. Customers have a bigger voice than ever before and they aren’t afraid to use it. That being said, companies also have a bigger opportunity than ever before to get customers talking.
While creating “raving fans” takes work, the payoff goes way beyond links. A few posts worth checking out:
- Create Loyal Customers and Raving Fans With Just Your Website
- Link Building & The Power Of The Customer
- Customer Focused Link Building
Get your customers talking and writing about you. It’s not only great for link building but it’s also great for business.
6. Brand Advocates
Similarly to customers and raving fans, your brand advocates are also people who want to help. Brand advocates are folks who like your brand but they aren’t necessarily customers.
For example, I am a big fan of MailChimp. I’m not currently a customer but I’ve used their product in the past. I love their blog; I like the company culture; and I think Freddie is awesome. When they have something new to say or a fresh post, I’m happy to share it. I’m also quick to recommend them to others.
Looking to identify your brand advocates? In the same way you locate brand mentions, you can find people talking about you or sharing your content. Tools like Social Mention, Topsy, Fresh Web Explorer, and Google+ Ripples can get you started, but I definitely recommend a social listening tool.
7. Partners & Distributors
One of the first things we do when beginning an off-site campaign for clients is to start with the basics…one of those basics being partners and distributors.
For many companies, specifically those in the service industry, partners play a large role in driving new business and supplementing existing business. We can’t all be experts on everything right?
When evaluating existing partners:
- Identify whether or not they have an existing partners page
- Consider trading blog posts
- Ask for a review
- Hold a joint event
- Interview them on your blog (or hold a hangout)
Each of these tactics can help build links but more importantly can help build better business relationships.
The same thing goes with distributors. Distributors feel comfortable selling your product and should feel comfortable linking to your brand. For manufacturers, take a look at distributor websites for line cards. Many of them will link to their manufacturers.
Who Else Do You Know?
We all have networks and connections that we can use to build links. While it may not seem like a friend, family member, or customer is the best person to ask…you never know.
Start thinking about who you know and how you can kick your 2014 link building campaigns off right!
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.