The majority of the time when we’re discussing link building, we focus on things like outreach, content strategy, tools and, in general, ways we can acquire links online. Which makes perfect sense since links are… well, online. But what about the offline, or “in real life” opportunities?
According to a recent survey featured on eMarketer, the average American spends a little over three hours per day online. That leaves quite a bit of time not spent on the Internet. That also leaves quite a bit of time to get out and build links through live events, partnerships and the magic, link-building word… relationships.
Getting out and participating beyond the computer screen can result in links just as easily, if not more easily, than through online methods. Plus, you give yourself the chance to meet people who may be able to help your business in new ways. Below are a few places to start.
Have you ever spent hours poring over a document, only to find you overlooked a simple misspelling? Sometimes, you can just be too close to a project. The same thing applies to link building. Even when we look for basic opportunities like brand mentions or broken links, we oftentimes don’t look at what’s right around us… the things we can physically go do.
Here in Boston, there’s a marketing or business event almost every night, and while that may not be the case in every town across the country, there are most likely monthly or quarterly events worth attending. Even better, these events may offer a way to get your company a new link.
Meetup & EventBrite
Many local events are organized through the Meetup platform or through EventBrite. Meetup allows you to set up a personal profile that lists your website and social profiles, while EventBrite offers the option to include your website in your RSVP (that link is followed, by the way).
When RSVPing to an event through either of these platforms, make sure you fill out your website information.
We know that people love being talked about, right? Even more so, we know that people will share something or link to something they (or someone they like) are featured in. Events are a great place to interview someone in your industry or someone relevant to you or to your clients’ business.
Take, for example, the live interview Eric Enge did with Matt Cutts at SMX Advanced in June. At the time this post was written, Eric’s post, which recaps the interview, had 164 comments and ~1,200 links according to Open Site Explorer. While we may all not be able to score a high-profile interview like this one, it shows the link building power a good interview can offer.
A couple months ago, I also mentioned looking for opportunities to be interviewed at events. I’m not going to rehash the details but take a look at the post for ideas on finding interview opportunities for yourself, your team, or your clients.
Host Your Own Event
One of the things happening in Boston, particularly in the tech world, is a boom in company-hosted events. Hubspot has started its own conference, several tech companies teamed up to create the Wicked Good Ruby Conference, and Fresh Tilled Soil holds its Fresh Talk events.
Hosting an event presents a terrific networking opportunity for the host business, is good for the brand, and can result in links. Each of these events mentioned above is also listed in (and linked to from) EventBrite, BostInno (a local tech publication), Boston.com, Conferize, and so on.
Want an even better idea for hosting an event? Host an event and broadcast it through Google+ Hangouts On Air. The Raleigh SEO Meetup does this every month, enabling them to hold a local event, reach non-local SEOs, and boast a membership of 1,700 people. That could translate into a lot of links!
The great thing about local event sponsorships is that they are pretty affordable, and you tend to get more direct exposure than you would at a larger conference. Take the Boston chapter of the American Marketing Association:
The sponsors are linked to from the Boston AMA website, they are mentioned through the AMA social media accounts, and they are featured at all events. For the cost of what one large event might run you, you can sponsor a local event or organization for a year and get a ton of links.
Which brings us to our next offline method….
Join An Organization
Similar to attending an event, professional organizations offer both networking and potential link opportunities.
Chamber Of Commerce
One of the easiest and most beneficial organizations to join is your local Chamber of Commerce. After all, the goal of any chamber is to support local businesses and help them be successful in the community. For link building purposes, Chamber of Commerce sites also typically have online member directories that include links:
If there’s one thing I can say about my college, it’s that they love promoting successful alumni. From the cover of the monthly magazine to the website, there are always alumni being discussed.
They are also often looking for stories. Our alumni site runs wedding announcements, announces career changes, recaps local alumni events, and features business successes.
Check out your own college’s alumni site to see how you can submit your news. Also be on the lookout for alumni directories. You never know what information they’ll let you submit.
To find other organizations that fit your business, check out LinkedIn. See what organizations your employees, customers, partners, and even competitors are a part of. There might be something that’s just right for your company.
Ask Your Offline Friends
While asking your friends may seem like a simple piece of advice, your offline friends can often times turn out to be a huge help.
According to a recent Pingdom article, there are over 87 million Tumblr blogs and 59 million WordPress sites. On top of that, Facebook and Twitter are boasting a combined 1.38 billion monthly users. Where are your friends?
Aaron Friedman wrote a great piece back in December discussing how he learned about a Facebook friend’s blog:
“A friend of mine, Robyn Burgher, is a clinical consultant at NorthShore Pediatric Therapy in Chicago. She also runs their website and social media efforts. Needless to say, she is busy.
I notice on Facebook that she started a new blog called Little Red Mommy Hood. Didn’t really give it a second thought until I saw her posting how she had 300 views in the first hour, and 500 after the second.”
Aaron didn’t know that his friend had a blog, and he certainly didn’t know how successful it was.
When you have an announcement about your business or something you feel is important, don’t hesitate to talk to your offline friends. My friends seem to find SEO fascinating and are always willing to help when needed. A tweet here, a Facebook post there, and a mention on their blog I didn’t even know existed, can be a big help.
At the end of the day, link building is tough. While we talk a lot about how to do it, we don’t often talk about getting out of the office to do so. So whether you are attending an event, joining a new organization, or talking to your friends about your latest project, know that links are everywhere… you just have to look for them.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.