Continuously building high-quality links is critical to improving your company’s SEO results over time. But traditional manual link building alone is time-consuming, expensive, and often delivers diminishing results if overused. With the start of 2011, now is a great time to evaluate and evolve your link building approach to stay ahead of the ever-changing SEO landscape.
Here are 8 link building techniques we’re seeing great results with for our clients that we expect will continue to grow in effectiveness in 2011 and beyond.
Link Building Techniques for 2011
Vanity URL / Outdated URL Redirects
With all the effort that gets poured into SEO and Link Building, it is still common that we see websites with 100s or even 1,000s of links going to outdated URLs or vanity URLs that do not pass along their SEO value. Implementing a proper 301 Redirect can recapture this value, often saving months worth of link building efforts to create the equivalent value. If your company has recently undergone a website redesign without involving an experienced SEO team OR if your company does a lot of marketing campaigns using micro-sites and/or vanity URLs, this will likely be the most important SEO effort you do all year.
Existing business relationships with vendors, partners, suppliers, and customers are often fantastic opportunities for gaining mutually beneficial links. Companies naturally want to display these relationships on their website to showcase their standing within the industry. Simply review their websites to identify potential link opportunities (e.g. Links page, Partner sections, Logos from other partners, etc.) and then reach out via your contacts at the business to request a link. Be prepared to provide a link back from your own company’s website if requested to seal the deal.
For companies that send out frequent news and press releases, incorporating Online PR is great way to generate links and additional media pickups at a low incremental cost. Following the rise of PRWeb, major wire services PRNewswire, BusinessWire, and MarketWire have all upgraded their service offerings in recent years to offer Online PR distribution.
Contests & Promotions
Creating contests and promotions are an inexpensive way for companies to build links while also engaging their target audience and current customer base. If your company doesn’t have a large following, partner with a prominent publication or blogger to launch the contest and build awareness.
Social Media Outreach
Social Media offers numerous opportunities to grow the inbound links, traffic, and authority of your company’s website. To make the most of this strategy, look to create long-term partnerships that lend themselves to ongoing awareness and inbound links. For example, B2B companies with a strong industry presence can offer key employees (e.g. CEO, Product VP/Director) to do “expert interviews”. Product companies and retailers can send products to prominent bloggers for product reviews.
Social Responsibility is a growing trend among both consumers and companies. Cause Marketing is a way your business or brand can showcase its social responsibility by partnering with a social or charitable cause that is closely aligned with your business, product, or target market. Examples such as Members Project from American Express or Toms Shoes One for One initiative have generated tens of thousands of inbound links as a side-effect of the promoting positive social impact.
Marketing seasonal or one-time events is fantastic form of outreach to your target audience that also generates relevant inbound links. Examples range from large international conferences like CES to an informal local meet up. Even if your business cannot host events, most events will link back to your company’s website just for presenting at an event or hosting a vendor booth.
Developing useful tools and resources that can be shared and embedded on third-party websites, blogs, and social media can be a very scalable way to generate inbound links. Look for ideas that showcase your company’s expertise, technology, or proprietary data in ways that also appeal to a wide community of website/blog owners. Common embeddable widget examples include weather, calculators, news headlines, and stock quotes.
Here at Point It, we’re always looking for effective, creative link building techniques that stand the test of time. That means the techniques must align with all search engine quality guidelines and ideally are able to be integrated into a company’s overall marketing efforts with repeatable processes and scalable results. Which of these techniques (or others) have worked best for your company?