We all know that Google uses links to rank websites for their search engine. The quantity, quality, diversity and relevancy of these links are all important factors.
However, knowing this, and being able to proactively act on it are two completely different things altogether. Being told “You must build links” is fast becoming useless advice, we know that, what we want to know is how do we build links?
Here are X practical ideas you can use right now to create content that other websites will link to. They aren’t expensive and won’t require a crack team of SEO ninjas to do.
Having said that, simply creating them and hoping rarely works. You will need to let people know they exist through your marketing communication channels, including customer newsletters, your blog, PR, social media, direct contact with key people via email, guest articles and advertising.
I have found the most effective content for building links tell a compelling story that resonates with your target audience.
By this I mean it is relevant to them and they find it useful, funny, interesting, or all three. Being original is great, but I wouldn’t say it is essential. Doing something better is an approach that works for many websites.
Infographics are fast becoming an industry in themselves, with specialist infographic designers and websites starting to appear, catering for the booming demand.
Even though hundreds are created everyday, they are still highly effective. To create infographics that are shared and linked to ask yourself; what information are your target audience going to want to read, and how can you present that information in an attractive format?
It sounds simple, but hitting the sweet spot takes practice.
What separates experts from thought leaders is the ability to bring something new to the table and drive the conversation. Thought leaders have new ideas that others in the industry respond to and customers want to find out more about.
A survey that is statistically valid to apply to the entire UK population requires a sample of 1,500 and one that can be applied to businesses a sample of 500.
If you use a research company it will put you back circa £3,000 for the data. If you use a self service tool such as Google’s consume survey, it will cost $100.
Although the research can be costly, there are countless uses for this research. Use this research to create press releases, infographics, white papers, blog posts, guides etc.
There are guides for pretty much every topic out there, so for this to be effective you have to aspire to create the DEFINITIVE guide.
Writing a guide for a topic that has been done to death is fine, as long as long as you cover it in a style or level or detail that has not been seen before. SEOMoz’s (or Moz as they like to be known as now) SEO guide is a great example of covering an area that has been done before but in such a way that people found easy to read, attractive to look at and detailed enough to be very useful.
Deals and offers
It may seem like a blunt tool, but it works, so why care? People love money off deals and if you run one that is strong or unique, you will grab everyone’s attention. This can include huge discounts, deals with 3rd parties, free bundles etc.
Interviews with industry names
Every industry has it’s own celebrities. Sometimes they break out in to the general public consciousness, other times they stay confined to that industry.
For your purposes, the more famous the better, however they don’t need to be a national celebrity for this to be effective. Interviews covering topics and themes your target audience want to hear more about are always huge link builders.
In all the years I have used this tactic very, very few people I have approached to be interviewed have not agreed. Don’t forget, this is great exposure for them too, so don’t be afraid to make contact and explain the benefits to them as well.
Thanks to YouTube, video is free to host and easy to share, however video content is a tricky one to get right. No one wants to watch a boring talking head video about your culture.
Don’t view video as a tool for direct sales, it is for branding and sharing.
With this in mind aim to create video content that goes beyond dry information and instead educates, entertains and holds attention.
I’d advise looking at Nike and Red Bull’s YouTube channels to see how it should be done. Granted they have huge budgets, but the strategy is still the same regardless of how much money you have.