Now before you turn your head and say ‘here comes another one of those boring link building guides’ allow me a few moments to explain why this article will be different. We already know there are lots of comprehensive and up to date guides on link building written by industry experts – conduct a simple search like this one and you’ll be able to find a whole host of them. But there are very few articles out there providing a clear and easily understandable ‘running example’ to demonstrate the theory. This article aims to bridge that gap and will hopefully serve as a reference point for some of our clients/prospects with some commonly asked questions such as:
1. What sort of link building will work for my business?
2. There aren’t too many quality blogs within my niche, so what other link building methods shall I use?
And so on…
Firstly, it goes without saying but always worth reiterating: make sure you know as much about your target audience as possible – find out where they congregate online and you will be best placed to market your services to them and build the best type of links. As a digital marketing consultant – this is what I do daily.
OK enough with the boring ‘advice’ type of comments, show me how to build links to MY business site…
Before starting and as previously stated, we’ll be using a ‘running example’ throughout the article so as to best illustrate the so called ‘theory’. The chosen niche or business is recruitment – let us just use an easily identifiable niche recruiter – Financial Jobs Recruitment.
Stage 1 – Start with the Easily Obtained Links:
The hardest thing with link building and Internet Marketing in general is building traction – getting those first links, trickles of traffic/sales etc. This is why we recommend starting off with those links that are ‘most obtainable’. The following are some examples:
1. Niche Directories – finding local and/or niche specific directories which offer free listings. Do not be fooled by the mass cry of ‘directories don’t work’ (they don’t as a standalone strategy but great for a diversified strategy).
Examples: www.careertown.co.uk/ and www.rec.uk.com
2. General Company Directories – slightly different to above and involves getting listed on other, more generic company listing directories such as:
3. Social Profiles – aim here is to create profiles in social websites, gaining a link back to your site.
4. Social Bookmarking Sites – similar to number three above, the aim is to ‘bookmark’ the website/webpage in some of the big social bookmarking sites. Do not worry too much about do follow / no follow links at this stage.
5. Existing Relationships – getting links from existing relationships. Friends, business contacts and other acquaintances that have a website and could potentially link to your site – as a general rule, avoid too many exchanged links.
Example: Naturally it is hard to provide a clear example for this point but an intuitive way of getting high quality links through this route would be harnessing relationships with universities and career guide types of sites.
Stage 2 – Directly Engaging with Target Audience:
This is the core stage that will aid traffic building from target audience. The aim is to find where the target audience are congregating online and get involved in the conversations – by adding value to the community, you will build trust and authority which will bring traffic. The following are some techniques in doing this.
1. Forum Posting – finding relevant forums, contributing and adding value whilst eventually gaining a link as part of your signature.
2. Blog Commenting – same principle as above but finding relevant, high trafficked blogs to comment on.
3. Q & A Sites – again, same principles apply with Yahoo Answers being the prime example.
Example: Search for these type of questions
Stage 3 – Content Syndication:
The backbone of SEO is content – unique pieces of content that can either be on your site OR distributed to other places on the web with a view to gaining a link back to your site in exchange. Think of good content as an online currency.
The following are key channels where good quality, relevant content can be distributed:
1. Blog Posting – through a blogger outreach, guest posting strategy can be very effective but will require time and dedication. The premise is that there are lots of bloggers wanting content for their blog who will in return provide a link back to your site.
2. Article Directories – not as powerful as above, but still worthwhile if done correctly. If not obvious, basically involves submitting unique articles to big article directories online with a link back.
3. Press Releases – the advice here is not to send out a PR for the sake of it – there has to be ‘newsworthy’ content. You can then use a PR syndication service such as below:
Stage 4 – Longer Term Methods:
These techniques will require more time and effort but are aimed at bringing longer term, sustainable traffic and online authority.
1. Reverse Engineering Competitor Backlinks – this is an under used tactic that basically involves sifting through ALL the backlinks of competitors and finding sites where your site can be added too.
Example: Not easy providing a clear example here, but we would use a backlink analysis tool to sift through the links of, say, Michael Page (a leading financial recruiter).
2. Blogging – this involves adding a blog on your site (if not currently present) and churning out high quality content for your audience that will be shared and linked to.
Example: You can start by studying the blogging strategies (content types) of all your main competitors and bettering it.
3. Infographics – the idea of the infographic is important here as well as the manner in which it is distributed. Infographics have become very popular and are a neat way of presenting information.
Examples: Concept ideas (without finding out whether it has been done before) include: Financial Careers Demystified, Career Options for Finance Graduates, Best Finance Job (by category, using different data sets).
Back to the Boring Stuff?
To conclude, let us head back to the ‘boring stuff’. Devising the right strategy is most important and consistent effort is the name of the game. You can either do the work your self, or dish the work out to a competent SEO agency / freelancer depending on your budget or requirements.