Basic Link Building Tactics and Resolutions for 2009
Even in the age of hyper-personalization and geo-location in search, the number of inbound links pointing to your site is still the most important aspect of developing and securing top search engine positions. That’s right, it’s not about internal linking structure, keyword density or the presence or absence of title tags – it’s about getting websites to link to yours. So how do you do that in 2009?
Link building hasn’t really changed much over the years and it probably won’t in 2009 either. Link building involves getting other Web sites to link to your site. The creativity we apply to link building however is what separate the high-rankers from the non-rankers. Think of link-building as a word of mouth recommendation; the more dramatic, compelling and interesting the recommendation, the more believable and attractive the proposition of visiting becomes for the user.
In the eyes of search engines, it’s both the quality and quantity of recommendations that matter. It’s not about making sure your site is worth a link (it is expected that our sites satisfies even the most critical user), it’s about going out and getting them. That concept understood, let’s look at few basic link building tactics you can (and perhaps should) employ in 2009.
Write and Distribute Press Releases Frequently: You very well might have the next great idea or that next amazing product that everyone needs to have, but if no one knows about it then you’re pretty much spinning your wheels. One way to spread the word is through the use of press releases. Website Magazine has written extensively on how to use press releases to secure publicity and it has remained one of the best, yet most basic, ways to get links (and to do it quickly). Build a working list of established media outlets and bloggers and pursue their attention (politely) through every means possible (including on social networks). In 2009, resolve to send out press releases to your list directly via email or using services such as PRWeb, BusinessWire or PRleap.com.
Become a Guest Blogger: One of the easiest ways to get attention on the Web (regardless of the industry you are in) is to work for free. Now I know that this idea might go against every fiber of your business-savvy being, but the value of doing something (which in itself is extremely valuable) for someone else works and it works well. Guest bloggers have a captive audience and an unmatched opportunity to build a viable relationship with an audience that is not their own. Resolve in this new year to be a guest blogger a few times, if only to test the waters. Identify blogs or email newsletters which you think your message would be valuable to and offer to share your expertise (for free of course) in exchange for a link or even some advertising. Take the idea of guest blogging further by recruiting your own guest bloggers – you’ll be shocked at what kind of promotional effort people will put in on your behalf!
Share Your Insights Through Commenting: One of my favorite down-time activities is writing comments on blogs that I find using the StumbleUpon toolbar. While the traffic that StumbleUpon itself sends is of the lowest quality imaginable in terms of providing conversions, the service is excellent at helping users discover sites that they might find interesting or valuable. Search the service using individual keywords and couple that effort with comment tracking services such as CoComment for the purpose of measurement. The benefit of course is that you are identified as a participant in the conversation, which positively impacts your future link building prospects. If by chance the weblog you leave a comment on uses "follow" links instead of "no-follow" links, all the better for your link building efforts.
Do Something Nice: If you’ve got an advertising budget, consider shifting a portion of those funds to secure natural (or at least semi-natural) links. Say for instance that you use an open-source software that requests donations. Why not make a donation and ask for a link from the developers site? Or say for example that you write a weblog on music like WM’s Senior Editor Mike Phillips; why not consider writing a post on how to give back to music charities – someone will notice and grant you a link! Resolve to reap what you sow in 2009 and you’ll be that much closer to Web success at the start of 2010.
Create Authority Documents and Share Socially: An authority document is one that people look to for guidance on a) how to do something, or b) how to do something better. Content does not exist in a vacuum however – it won’t pull people on to your site on its own merit. You must share that information through an active network of Web friends and colleagues to make it stick in the Web’s sphere of influence. That’s why Website Magazine and others spend so much time discussing social news/bookmarking sites like Digg andDelicious, micro-blogging communities like Twitter and social networks like Facebook. These are opportunities where one can share their ideas and their content. Remember, authority does not happen overnight – it happens gradually with sudden increases (bursts) of influence. Resolve in 2009 to develop one well-thought out authority document each month of 2009 and, build out your social profile and share your content on as many social networks as possible, encouraging you friends to do the same.