As with all marketing initiatives, we need to have a goal in mind when thinking about how marketing is going to help us accomplish our mission. In search marketing, scalable link building is a difficult mission to accomplish but is crucial for increasing referral, social, and search traffic.
Anyone can build links, it doesn’t take a genius marketer, but it does take some thinking about your business to make sure you are progressing effectively and efficiently. Below you find several methods of link building and how you can prioritize them based on impact and resources.
There are 1000’s of ways to build links and you’ll need to decide:
- How many resources will I have to dedicate to link building?
- How impactful will these links be?
Here is one way to think about the impact upon your business and the resources needed for your link building efforts. Regardless of which method of link building you undertake, it will fit within one of these quadrants.
Methods of Link Building:
Leverage existing relationships
One of the easiest ways to build links is by leveraging existing partnerships or business relationships. For example, if my business is a Boston bank or credit union AND I’m a member of the Massachusetts Bankers Association. If my bank is listed in their directory, then I need to make sure that there is a link back to my site.
On the resources spectrum, assuming you are already member of the association, gaining a link through them shouldn’t be an arduous task. However, it could be impactful for your business from a profit perspective because this allows people to go straight to your website AND search engines will likely use this type of link for judging relevancy and authority for your site.
Associations are just one way of leveraging relationships. You can also gain links through suppliers, retailers, (happy) customers, and so many other ways.
Blogging (Content Creation)
A tried and true way of building links is by constantly creating good content that your readers will link to and share with their friends. Once you have your own helpful, relevant content, then you can push it through your social channels and share with other people in your same industry.
Sometimes clients ask, “Where should I publish this content?” We often recommend either (1) creating a blog or (2) creating a resources section on your site. The main point is basically having a place that will house all of this helpful, relevant, link-worthy content.
Another way to build links is by guest blogging on other people’s sites. Reach out to other publishers or associations in your industry and see if they would be willing to let you write a guest post for them on their blog, content center, or news section. This is a way to build relationships with new people in your industry and gain a link back to your site.
On the resources spectrum, this requires more effort. First you have to reach out to people, then establish the relationship, and lastly, see if they’d let you write a guest blog post (which contains a link back to your site).
Development Intensive Content Creation
White papers, infographics, and guides are another category of content that can potentially bring in a decent amount of links. By creating more in-depth pieces of content that show your expertise in your industry, you have a valuable resource that can be multi-purposed for lead generation, link building, and social media sharing.
On the resources spectrum, this type of content is going to cost you more than just writing a simple blog post, however, the returns are generally higher if you share this content on your networks, and get others to share it on theirs. You could use this type of content to reach out to writers, journalists, and publications in your industry to see if this content could be helpful for the stories they are working on.
Defining your mix
These previous examples are just a few ways to help your link building. I recommend using a mix of multiple link building methods. You could start by gaining a few “easier” links through your partnerships. Then you could put some marketing dollars behind researching and creating a larger piece of content that will gains links from my friends, customers, and prospects.
Link building isn’t an overnight task. It is a ongoing process that takes months and sometimes years to build a solid network of high quality links. Start with the easier links to get the link building momentum rolling in your organization and try out different methods to find out what works best to build your link authority.
What are some of your favorite ways to get people to link to your site?
(Featured Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lizkdc/2538877919/)