With a new year upon us, new challenges are certain to arise for search engine optimization, especially link building. Toward the end of last year, notable SEO’s had already begun indicating how link building tactics were changing.
Jim Boykin of Web Build Pages publicly announced the company would no longer be buying links and Michael Gray’s post a few weeks ago ponders how Google may start further refining the algorithm for links acquired through social media.
Google will continue to analyze trends & patterns in search in an attempt to find complementary ways to rank web pages for keyword queries, relying less on link popularity. It’s already underway with personalized search, SearchWiki and preferred sites.
Link building will still be a core element of any long-term SEO strategy until proven otherwise. But even more important will be the ability to gain links from a variety of online strategies and not relying on a single outlet or channel.
Here are 30 ideas to kickstart your link building efforts in 2009, ranging from the quick hits to those tactics requiring a greater level of preparation and more strategic planning and development.
The Quick Hits
- Search Google for mentions of your company name, brand, product names and even key management to determine if sites mentioning these things included links as well.
- Add your web address to your LinkedIn Profile
- Write a newsworthy press release
- Write an article for Work.com, EzineArticles.com or a myriad of other niche sites accepting articles (that provide third-party links of course)
- Use Yahoo Site Explorer to check your competitor’s backlinks for new link opportunities (I’d suggest using the drop downs to filter “Except from this Domain” and “Entire Site”)
- Find a new way to get your RSS feeds syndicated on third party sites
- Write a free eBook which takes a different spin on a popular topic
- Guest author a post on an industry-related blog
- Start Blogging
- Use Google Webmaster Central to find the URL’s that link to 404 pages on your site.
Strategies that take a bit more time, preparation and execution
- Donate your time to a worthwhile cause
- Create your own influential community in MyBlogLog
- Give something away for free (just make certain that people will really want it)
- Find locations where you can submit your web address – as part of your profile – that does not “nofollow” the web address link (You used to gain link value on Twitter and while the direct profile link is no longer followed, there still may be some SEO link value left…)
- Run a contest (learn about B2B Contests)
- Sponsor an event
- Research important editors and publishers in your industry, including local news publications, trade publications and industry news sources.
- Send out the perfect link request
- …or even….pick up the phone and call
- Link to other bloggers in your industry in hopes that they notice your link and then link back either at some point in the future or in reference to a valuable post you may have written in the past.
This set of tactics not only take more time and effort, but it may also be difficult to measure short-term gains and direct “wins”. In our experience, dedication to a plan and a consistent focus are what often brings long-term value for these link building strategies.
- Build a database (or even an Excel spreadsheet) of contact information for quality link opportunities (websites) in your industry
- Research and take time to participate in a forum community specific to your target market.
- Provide valuable comments on industry and even competitor’s blogs. Hopefully they’ll start recognizing your contributions and start following, comment and linking to your blog as well.
- Network with your colleagues (but make certain to network the right way)
- Create a tool or widget that people can use, link to and even post on their own websites, which is reflective of your business strategy or expertise.
- Build an influential social media profile
- Use Google Alerts to monitor keyword activity related to your company, brand, and high-value keyword strategies for link opportunities in blogs, news and other websites.
- Forge and leverage strategic partnerships that you probably already have
Finally, two important facets of the link building process that help make everything about link building easier to do and much more productive.
- Have a sense of humor
- Create good content
And if all else fails… Act Like an Animal JUST KIDDING! But the key takeaway is to be unique, be different, give someone a good reason to link to you.
I’m certain there is more to add to this list and hopefully it has inspired creative ideas as well. We’d love to hear your feedback via comment or contact and best of luck in your link building efforts in 2009!
Other Helpful Link Building Articles
- Link Building Fundamentals: A Primer
- The Secret to Making Every Link Count For Your SEO Rankings
- 11 Experts on Link Development Speak Out
Graphical heading design inspired by Patrick Winfield’s article: “How to Create Cool ‘Graphical Text’ for Linkbait Pieces“