Anyone who talks to you long enough about an SEO strategy will surely bring up inbound links and how important they are to your website’s organic rankings. This is surely one of the most important aspects to your SEO strategy and something that a lot of people leave off or don’t put enough intentional effort into, because it’s usually the most time consuming and challenging part of doing SEO. Something I believe that everyone needs to realize is that no two companies are going to successfully implement the same link building strategy and see the same results. Your business and your website have very unique and great things about it, and those are the things you should really try to leverage when putting together a link building strategy.
What does your business do best?
The size of your business may be one of the first things you should realize and take into account. A small regional company is not going to be able to build the same kinds of links as a large, national or global company with a very powerful brand. When you’re putting together your link building strategy, think about what differentiates your company, or what assets you have that make you worth linking to. Also think about what assets you can repurpose into a content strategy or another asset to attract links from other people on the web. Try asking yourself these questions:
- Do you have great content you can provide in a blog format that will draw links into your website?
- Do you have any research data or statistics you can repurpose into an infographic?
- Does your company have a great web based tool that you can give to users for free that they can embed on their website that links back to your website?
- Are there any strong relationships you have with owners of other websites or writers in your industry that you can reach out to acquire additional links to your website?
- What industry organizations or associations are you a part of? It doesn’t matter if these are local or national. A lot of businesses receive links from local chamber of commerce websites in their area.
Hopefully these questions have helped jog some ideas in your head and will help you start to put together the base elements of a strategy. If your mind was blank when asked all of these questions, then you might have a little further to go before you can start to put together a useful link building strategy.
What’s working for your competitors?
Some other ideas to help you get started might be to look at your competitors. A lot of initial tasks that I do when putting together link building strategies for companies is to start looking at their online competitors or resource sites in their industry to see what types of sites have been linking to their competitors. This can give you a great sample of what has worked for them, and what you can leverage to work for you as well. You can use a tool from SEOMoz called Open Site Explorer to do this competitive link profile research if you have never done this in the past. Another tool to help track records over time is MajesticSEO’s backlink history tool.
There are also a number of other tools (most are paid) that can allow you to look at what websites link to your competitors. If you have a favorite tool that isn’t OSE, feel free to leave a comment with that tool and what you like best about it.
A list of link building tactics
As an additional resource I wanted to list a number of link building tactics that people have used in the past and are commonly associated with the SEO industry. These are not meant to be every way you could build links, but can offer as tactics that have worked for others in the past. The biggest thing to think about when link building is what is the quality of the link you are receiving? A link from an authoritative site on the net that is in your industry is going to be much more valuable to you than a link from some general web directory, but I believe that a diverse link building strategy can have all different types of links and when done with a “value-added” mentality can serve your website’s SEO strategy in the long run.
- Content Generation & Link Bait
- Infographic Generation
- Industry Organization Websites
- Industry Related Websites That List Resources
- Suppliers & Vendors Websites
- Business Partner Websites
- Blogger Outreach
- Guest Blogging
- Article Marketing
- Press Releases
- Charities & Sponsorships
- Industry Related Directories
- Social Bookmarking Sites
- Social Media (used as a tool to help build relationships and industry relevance and not just spamming your social media profiles with nofollow links)