Thinking Out of the Box: 6 Link Building Strategies

Link building is increasingly becoming more important but at the same time, more complex. Nowadays, it’s about more than just tweaking your on-page SEO and submitting articles to to directories. It’s easy to give broad advice like “network with local colleges and ask for a link” or “call a related local business and ask for a link” … Here are some easy to implement ideas that can help with your link building campaign:

1) Create a free stock photo gallery – Whether you’re an avid photographer or Instagram fan, offering free use of your pictures can be a great way to get a link. It’s easy to set up a dedicated page on your site with stock photos that people can freely use. Even better, if you’re a web designer, you can offer free social networking icons, fonts, or even stylesheets – all while asking for a link back to your site.

2) Broken/dead link building – This can be a tedious process. One way to do this is to search the top terms you want to rank for and check out the top competitors. You can run a broken link check on them (like Xenu) and see if they have any broken links. It’s more than likely that they’ll have a broken or outdated link on their resources/links page. At this point, you can send a friendly email informing them of the dead link and asking (but not pressuring them) to add your link in place of this broken link.

3) Build a definition/glossary page – This strategy is great way to show that you are an expert in your field. At the same time, you’ll get to cover your most important targeted keywords and then some! Think of something like this, that will be helpful for years to come and something that can always be updated – so that people keep it in their references.

4) Wikipedia and wikis
– Although links on Wikipedia are nofollow, it’s a great addition to your backlink profile and it can bring relevant traffic your way. The key here isn’t to spam but to find relevant articles and to make citations or add to helpful “External links” at the bottom of the page. Remember, Wikipedia is not the only one out there. It’s a matter of digging around to find some more relevant ones to your business like wikidoc, AboutUs and so on.

5) Give away badges
– Post Penguin/Panda, it might not be such a good idea to get or ask for links with the same block of anchor text. Images are a great and safe way to diversify your link profile and it doesn’t take much. Many niche bloggers (tech, moms, gamers) appreciate well-made badges that they can add to their site. Think of something fun and simple, like Foursquare badges.

6) Live blogging at industry events
– Microblogging platforms like Twitter, Tumblr, Posterous combined with smartphones make it easy to live blog before, during and after events. An important part of having your posts re-shared is offering interesting insight not just mundane updates like “So excited for the seminar to begin!”. Take creative pictures, add your opinions and provide non-attendees with info that just might make them wish they were there with you!

Why Your Content Marketing Strategy Needs SEO

Google’s Penguin update may have left you feeling down and out, but now isn’t the time to completely give up on SEO.

Penguin Penalties
If you’ve been dabbling in black hat tactics, or even gray hat, that is obviously a big problem. But there are many marketers who have been “punished” by the algorithm updates, even if they have played it safe. Some sites have dropped a few spots, while others have feltĀ  a full on penalty by dropping 10+ pages. What does that mean for the future of SEO? Regardless of what you’ve read, search engine optimization isn’t “dead” as much as it has drastically evolved. It’s a matter of which businesses can hang on during this ever changing environment.

The Big Problem with No SEO
While this may lead to a focus on cranking out content without any optimization, there is a huge problem with that. The main problem with thinking about online marketing without SEO is that your content needs to be found and seen by search engines in order to be indexed and eventually ranked. Just think of it as if you have the greatest thing to share BUT no one will ever come across it because you’ve done no marketing or planning to bring the content to the people. A failure to plan for effective SEO may also affect other aspects of online marketing like social media marketing… things that’ can’t be found cannot be shared!

Lessons Learned
The best advice is to stay up to date on upcoming updates and to see how they are affecting your peers and industry. Gone are the days of building hundreds of links, pages, articles for a quick fix. As Google puts it, the face of SEO today yearns to reward high-quality content without unnatural links or methods that may seem to be created solely for the purpose of manipulating search results. If these updates teach you anything, it should be that you should have a balance in optimization tactics: content creation, inbound/outbound links, on and off page optimization. In other words, simple is better and less is more.

Helpful articles:
Reconsideration Request Tips From Google
SEOs Share Google Penguin Recovery Tips
Google Penguin Update Recovery Tips & Advice
Whiteboard+ on Google’s Penguin Update

How to work with a search marketing company or consultant

I thought this topic would be relavant to our customers as well as others out there that work with a search marketing company or consultant. I recently spoke to one of our paid search and search engine optimization (SEO) customers today and discovered some interesting data. The orginal intent of the call was to followup on a new 800 number to better track the calls coming through. The customer went on to discuss what keywords are most effective for their paid search and SEO campaigins. This customer surveys all potential customers to find out what search engine they found them on, what keyword was specifically used to find them, and what state they’re calling from. With these 3 pieces of data we were able to make adjustments in real time to their paid search campaign. The SEO campaign does not have this flexibility but when it’s time to renew thier SEO campaign we can add some of these words to their campagin. So make sure to keep your search marketing company up to date on what’s working for you. The more information you can provide, the better the company or consultant will be able to fine tune the search marketing campaign. This could be done through a weekly phone call or a weekly email. If you’re not already tracking this information, start today. It’s your money so you might as well get the best value out of your marketing spend.

Here’s a list of some helpful things you can do yourself to get the most out of your search marketing campaign:

  • Track site traffic through free Google Analytics
  • Use free Google Webmaster Tools (You might need some help from a webmaster to get this initially setup)
  • Track your data on a spread sheet (what search engines you were found on, what words, was it organic or a paid search ad?, etc.)
  • Stay in touch with your search marketing company on a weekly basis
  • Stay current with search marketing trends by reading blogs like ours and one or all of these: Search Engine Land, Search Engine Guide, or SEOMoz (I currently subscribe to these and 6 others through Google Reader which is a nice way to feed all of these sites into one reader.
  • Request your paid search log-ins for Google, Yahoo, and MSN and log-in yourself to see what’s working and what words are being advertised. Some search marketing companies will not give this information out and provide generic reports. At emarketed we give access to your accounts if you request this information. You can login and run all types of reports to find out what’s working and what’s not.

Well that’s it for now. I will post more tips to this post in the future so stay tuned. Please also feel free to comment if you have some ideas that can help.