Don’t Be A One-Dimensional Link Builder

I’m currently reading a novel that many people rave about, but it’s not really my thing. My least favorite book ever is One Hundred Years of Solitude. I despise U2 and thought Shakespeare in Love was the most laughable piece of crap I’ve ever seen. I think Hall and Oates’ “Private Eyes” is one of the most underrated songs ever and am really getting back into yacht rock even though I love all the indie bands I’m supposed to love as an over-the-hill former hipster.

Yes, I’m cranky but I’m not alone in my grumpiness. I’m also a mess in my likes and dislikes.

I previously wrote a post about differing ideas about what constitutes a quality link. I have very set opinions on some things and don’t give a flip about others, just like anyone else. Therefore, it’s important to realize that, when you’re going after links, you think about your content and your approach with this in mind.

Know your audience but don’t impose limitations  on them

Obviously you know to consider your audience when you’re creating content, but just because your target demographic has strong preferences for one thing does not mean that they do not also have strong preferences for something contradictory. You certainly can’t please everyone, but you can also certainly please more than one main group if you write content well enough.

The accidental brilliance of unintentionally viral content

Let’s take the amazing viral video for Christian the Lion for an example. I cannot think of a group of people that this video would not impress, even though the music could take the hair off a sweater. The image of a wild animal recognizing his former owners and bounding up to them is absolutely one of the most lovely things that I have ever seen. This video was not created for linkbait purposes, of course, nor was it filmed for branding or marketing purposes. It is simply beautiful. I need to go cry now.

Hypocrisy is a given

Hypocrisy isn’t exactly the perfect word but it’s as close as I can get right now. I’ve never known anyone (at least not with any sense) who had consistent views, consistently. To give you an industry-related example, I look back at many of the first posts that I wrote and I disagree with about half of what I said. I’d say that I’m 95% leftwing but that 5% is a nagging little reminder of why I tend to dislike the liberal agenda many times. I’m sure that you have some beliefs that conflict with others, too.

So with this in mind, how can you tailor your approach in order to make the most of it? Some of it will of course depend upon your tactics, but much of it will simply depend upon whether or not you can apply the same methods of creating for the masses with approaching the masses.

3 Ways to get the word out

If you’re lucky enough to have a popular site with content that gets picked up very, very quickly, well…I envy you. For the rest of us, it’s necessary to promote content through various channels.

1) Social media is good for alerting people to your new content, but I see it done so obnoxiously many times. There are some people who get on Twitter and do nothing but tweet links to their own content (new and old!) This tactic isn’t just limited to social media newbies, either. If you want to tweet links to your content, do it but take the time to respond to at least some of the replies that you receive. As with anything else in social media, it’s important to be engaged here. You can’t expect to tweet links to your followers if your followers don’t care. If you were to examine your list of followers on Twitter, for example, would you be able to easily categorize them in terms of industry/subject followers, friends, people who follow anyone and everyone? Try to build up followers that cover many bases. My favorite SEOs to follow tend to talk about a lot more than just SEO.

2) Emailing webmasters to ask them to link to your content is also a viable method for building good links if you do it properly. I have never liked the one-size-fits-all approach for this, however, as it simply does not work and tends to seriously annoy webmasters. If you’re going to email and ask for a link, take the time to get familiar with the webmaster’s site and see if it’s truly a good fit. If it’s not, don’t waste anyone’s time. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can use one email to approach several people in a certain niche, either. Read the site and get a feel for the tone used, and that should help you tailor your words.

3) Making use of customer email lists can be a fantastic way to promote content, but it can also be done very poorly. I routinely get about 5 emails a day from a company that I once ordered something from, years ago, and it’s highly irritating. (I know I should unsubscribe but there’s a part of me that kind of likes being irritated, and it’s a current client!) While sending out current sales to your existing customer base may not build a tremendous amount of links, it’s definitely going to drive traffic and conversions. I don’t expect a company to tailor an email promotion to each individual of course, but if it’s well-written and the promotion itself is a good one, it’s going to work. However, here’s where I’d also use social media such as Facebook and Twitter in order to do a more individual approach, as simply emailing existing customers isn’t going to necessarily get the word out to new blood.

Overall, don’t be afraid of contradictions and concepts that seem opposite in nature. Humans aren’t one-dimensional, and should not be treated as robots. Think of all of your own ideas, likes, and dislikes, and contemplate how they change. With this in mind, you’ll hopefully be able to cast a wider net.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Link Building | Link Building: General | Link Building: Linkbait | Link Week Column

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About The Author: owns the link development firm Link Fish Media and is one of the founding members of the SEO Chicks blog.

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