A critical element to any SEO or online marketing strategy is obtaining links to your site. You want people to talk about you and to send their friends and viewers your way. Here are a few ways to entice those links. Think content, content, content and types of content. And consider all the ways you can let people know that the content is available.
Content worth sharing
No matter what type of content you’re creating it has to make the person or site linking to it look good. Otherwise why should they provide the link? It has to address your audience and their needs and interests. Ask yourself these questions as you write:
- Is this relevant to my target audience? Is this something they care about? Does this answer a concern that keeps them awake at night?
- Does this help build relationships?
- Is this immediately useful?
- Does this build upon the common interests of my readers?
- Is this novel and unique? A “wow” factor really helps to get your content forwarded and talked about.
- Is it funny?
- Is it emotional? Can the reader feel your passion? Can you tell a good story?
- Is it positive and optimistic?
- Is this something I feel strongly about?
Articles, white papers, DIY guides, product specifications
Many people are online because they have a problem and are looking for an answer. Some will want a quick and dirty answer. Others will want a thorough and detailed answer. Often it will be appropriate for you to write in both styles for the same content. You may want to create one type of article for submission to another site as a guest blog entry, for example, and have a more detailed article on your own site. Then include a link for more information to your own site (but check on the rules of the publishing site first.)
These are the easiest links to obtain because you are creating them. There are plenty of places for you to create profiles for you or the public faces of your company. Be sure LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other social site profiles include links to your website. They can be links to your home page, or to the company blog, or to the profile you keep on your website. If someone in your company has a speaking engagement then be sure to have a profile of them on your site and give that link to the people working on the publicity for the event.
The press release may or not be dying, but if you’re doing or announcing something worthy of a press release be sure you’re including relevant links for the press to use on their own sites. Include the URL for a relevant photo essay on your site, or for a page of additional resources, or for a video. If the press doesn’t pick up your story, try presenting it to your industry association.
You probably have a standard signature file you use when sending email. But do you have one to use when you’re posting to forums or discussion groups? Do you rethink the link you provide before you send the email or post the comment? You might want to customize the link depending on the content of your message.
Your local listings
You may sell your product or service throughout the nation, but that doesn’t mean that the folks at home don’t deserve to see your listing in local directories. Obtain listings from wherever you have a physical address.
Most professional or industry associations have a listing for their members. Be sure to use it. For both search engines and potential buyers/clients, a link from an association implies your trustworthiness.
If you post content to a site focused on media type, like a video to YouTube or a presentation to SlideShare, there’s usually an opportunity for you to include a link in the description or in the media itself.
All these links appearing in numerous places and which keep appearing over time inform search engines that your content is valued. It also means that your links are more likely to appear in different types of searches. People aren’t just searching on Google any longer. Sometimes your potential customers are searching on Twitter or a review site. You want your links to appear anywhere your intended audience might be.
One more piece of advice: Pay attention to your keywords when you are writing your own links or suggesting links for others. You want those keywords in your links. In other words, try for “hand-painted, customized sinks from Sinks-R-Us.com” rather than just “Sinks-R-Us.com.”
And keep at it. You’ll see results.