With the vastness of information available in the Internet today, how’d you think search engines such as Google determine how to display webpages when their users type in a certain search or query?
The answer: LINKS
Linking is a form of citation. Remember when you were still writing a school paper? You were required to cite every single source where you got the information from in order to avoid plagiarism. The same rule applies whenever you write a piece of content and intend to publish it online. However, we use hyperlinks instead of footnotes and other citation styles.
The more writers mentioning your work, the more hyperlinks pointing to your website or blog. In this sense, links are synonymous to “votes of confidence” from other websites. Therefore, search engines will deem your content as a trusted source of information. Because it’s their goal to provide their users with sufficient and insightful answers, they will display webpages that can render such information on the top of their search results – webpages that are ‘trusted’ by several other sources.
Pre-Penguin vs. Post-Penguin
Back then, links could get your website on the top of search results pages in no time. As a result, a lot of SEO practitioners abused them. They built links around their own websites; they did a lot of shady practices just to have links and even paid other websites to link to them. Easy peasy!
But, Google proved to be smarter. That’s why in 2012, they released a sophisticated algorithm update called Penguin that took action against “spammy” websites as well as their shady link building practices. A lot of major websites and big brands have been affected by its wrath, so from then on, business websites and digital marketers have been rethinking how they can maintain a healthy backlink profile.
Nearly four years since the last major Penguin update, Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst, Gary Illyes, tweeted that we should expect another update in the coming weeks.
As long as you are not doing these risky link building schemes, you should not worry about being heavily affected by the approaching Penguin update.
The Beauty of Enterprise-Level Link Building
As a brand, you definitely want your business website to be recognized in what we call “search game.” Who wouldn’t, right? But no matter how visually-appealing your website is or how incredible your marketing strategies are, these are only part of a much larger equation to achieve online prominence. As far as search engines are concerned, links are still one of the best signals in determining authority, relevance, credibility, and popularity of a web page. Needless to say, links are your website’s pillars and ultimate workhorse. That’s the beauty of it.
So if you haven’t done any link building for your website, better start small – more like baby steps. Discover new communities and cultivate relationships online to incrementally build your brand value. Share your insightful content, help others by providing useful answers, react to a post/comment using GIFs, or end your sentence with an emoji. Keep in mind that behind those computer screens and mobile devices are people – and people always want to establish and build that one-on-one relationship.
Bedrock Enterprise-Level Link Building Tactics
So for starters, keep in mind that you can’t talk about link building without looking at content first. In fact, most digital marketing efforts should start with content creation and development. Besides, content is the reason why search is invented in the first place. Therefore, the fundamental tactics in link building should revolve around content. Here are some tactics:
1. Content Marketing
You’ve probably tried creating a lengthy blog post, tapped your social media team to disseminate it, and waited to see the “deluge” of traffic to your website. But to your disappointment, the expected “deluge” were only a few increase in hits. Yes, the perfect word is “disappointing.”
Insightful and helpful content (guides, how-to articles, infographics, videos, etc.) naturally attract links if you’re already an authoritative figure or influencer in your field. Like Matt Cutts, Rand Fishkin, or Neil Patel in the world of digital marketing and SEO. But what if you haven’t reached that kind of status yet? You need to take the backbreaking road of creating the same kind of content that can be used for long-term.
In today’s standards, stepping up your “pen game” is not only about improving the quality of a write-up anymore. Content marketing today is also about user experience – engaging the audience with graphical content or providing them with any form of “bonus” to get their emails. If you are investing ample amount of time and money on content ideation and development, then you’re on the right track my friend!
Before marketing your content:
- Know what type of content marketing strategy works best for your audience.
- Create an Excel sheet containing a list of your niche target (e.g. people who write or share the same topic as what you are about to market).
- Start engaging with them by signing up in their newsletter, commenting on their blog posts, and messaging them in their social media accounts. Establishing a personal connection is very important in this process.
Once your content has been published, use your list and reach out to those people. If you’re sending an e-mail, make it direct and concise. Here’s a sample template that you can use:
I’ve been following your website/blog lately, and I find your work really inspiring to the point that it changed the way I [thought/did] about [subject matter].
I just wanted to let you know that I’ve mentioned your work here: [insert link].
I know you’re busy doing your work, but I will be more than delighted if you could share this article during your free time.
Thank You So Much,
2. Image-based: Memes & Infographics
In the online world that is full of information, two types of content are often getting shared – informative and funny. It also happens that people enjoy reading content that is visual; meaning, incorporating images into the content is a big YES.
So the near-perfect formula for success would be funny/informative post + images (or vice versa). And that formula ladies and gentlemen gave rise to what we know today as memes and infographics.
Let’s start out with memes. They contain a humorous message, have a great chance of getting viral, can easily strike through the target audience and, most of all, they can be created easily. So don’t wonder why most businesses nowadays include “memevertising” into their campaigns. Besides, memes are increasingly becoming a good option for effective brand marketing.
In his post at Moz, Takeshi Young explained how memes can generate backlinks and traffic to your website. The secret to this is to make your memes on-point and on-topic. The moment you use sensitive topics such as religion and race, your chances might get sullied.
If you’ve noticed an improvement in traffic and brand mentions by using memes, that’s the go-signal to reach out to those who used your memes (to ask for links pointing to your website).
Now we go to infographics. This type of content is definitely one of the most sought for brand marketing and link building tactics since 2012. A lot of business websites that capitalized on infographics have experienced increased brand mentions, links, as well as social shares.
From our own experience, this particular infographic about setting up and managing a Facebook Business Page has garnered 300% more traffic than our regular blog posts! So far, we’ve only marketed this piece of content in different social media platforms. If you desire to get better results, you can promote infographics by:
- Reaching out to bloggers (through email or in person) who may find your infographics useful to their readers
- Providing bloggers with embed codes so that they can link to it easily
- Reaching out to social media influencers (prioritize big social media platforms such as Google+, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn)
- If you have the money, advertise it through Reddit’s sponsored link or Stumbleupon’s paid discovery
If you’re on a tight budget, you can also promote infographics in the following FREE infographic/data visualization sites that Paddy Moogan has created:
3. Local SEO
Claiming your business address, tweaking your Google My Business page, and adding your business to local listings are yesterday’s local SEO. But don’t get us wrong, these are still essential for having a strong business presence within your local community.
However, the local SEO game has changed.
To some, local SEO is incrementally bridging the gap between offline and online marketing. This means that today’s local SEO involves establishing real connections within your local communities through local meet-ups, volunteer works, and sponsorships.
You’ll be surprised to know that these activities can actually increase your local traffic, local links, and brand exposure.
- Participate in local meet-ups (touch base with local business owners).
- You might meet some influential local blogger. (If so, reach out to them immediately. Just make sure you propose a value to their readers).
- If you have the budget, host a local event, invite local businesses, and advertise it through different online and offline channels. Get sponsorships if possible (because you don’t want to miss any potential business relationship).
4. Guest Posting
A lot of guest bloggers and SEO practitioners were surprised when Matt Cutts announced that the said strategy is becoming a spammy practice every day. As a result, a lot of practitioners who used to prioritize guest blogging as their main source for links have shifted their focus since then.
But is guest blogging really dead? We don’t think so.
Matt Cutts only denounced those guest posting activities that offer money to obtain links that pass PageRank, for it is a clear violation of Google’s quality guidelines. He admitted that guest blogging used to be authentic, coveted and a respectable thing.
So, from those statements, here’s the bottom line: authentic guest blogging that targets high-quality and authoritative websites still works like a charm. In fact, a guest blog published in a site with low social shares, no existing quality content, and little to no search volume is not worth the time and effort at all.
Before deciding to jump into the guest posting bandwagon, you need to make sure that you are good at making content partnerships. If you are new to this game, but you think you can definitely chip in something insightful, start collaborating with a content partner by offering yourself as “co-author.
Most professional content developers admitted that when they were starting out, they even did most of the writing just to have a share of that limelight. Meaning, they almost did the work for them (by them, we mean those who have a more established name in the industry).
Being a co-author can mean two things: (1) either you write the content, or (2) you’ll have the list where the content will get posted on high-traffic sites. At the end of the day, this is a win-win situation.
In reaching out with a guest blogging prospect, keep in mind the following:
- Commend the prospect’s content and describe how it can be a very good resource to the community.
- Make sure to send a clear pitch to him/her. Add the lessons you’ve learned from the post, your own takeaways, and questions while reading the content.
- ALWAYS add value to the community whenever you post a comment on their blog. If you do this consistently, they will likely to remember you, hence increasing your chance of having a shot at guest blogging once you request for it.
Just remember to be natural at all times. Think of the prospect as your friend and that you’re asking them a favor. So be polite and make sure they have ample reasons to grant your request.
5. Link Reclamation
Based from the name, this is the process of reclaiming the links (that you think is rightfully yours).
Link reclamation is primarily used for two things:
- Moving a page within your website without redirecting it.
- The content mentions your work, brand name, or business name but doesn’t link to you.
Either way, you need to personally contact those people to recover and have those links.
Below is an email template that you can use. Just remember to keep the message direct to the point.
I wanted to personally reach out to you to give my gratitude for mentioning [your website/blog/brand name] in your post/article last time. The article was [insert compliments and establish personal connection].
I definitely appreciate the time and thought of featuring us. Would you mind adding a link back to our site? In this manner, your readers can find us easily while reading your post.
As mentioned earlier, links will pour in naturally if you are an authoritative figure in the industry. And you’re one step closer to achieving this status if you’re being quoted and interviewed more often. Interviews are an effortlessly cool way to become an authority in your industry.
But the big question still remains:
“How do you get those golden interview opportunities?”
Answer: Manual outreach (again!)
If you’ve done manual outreach for other link building tactics mentioned above, it is time to make the most of those established relationships. Contact them together with other smaller websites in your niche. It is important to highlight those websites that are regularly conducting interviews be it through Google+ Hangout, podcast, or live discussion. If you know some journalists, better establish relationships with them also! Keep in mind that reporters are always looking for new and informative insights!
Here’s a sample outreach message:
Subject: Idea for Collaboration
Body: Hi [Name],
I’ve recently watched your interview with [interviewee] and thought it was very informative. [Interviewee]’s insights about [subject matter] was very on-point. I would really love to be considered for your next interview. I specialize in [insert field] and have some great pieces of advice to offer [insert link of relevant content].
Would you be open to interviewing me? I am looking forward for your positive response.
Enterprise-level link building continues to evolve. There’s no doubt about it.
Low-level tactics are becoming less and less significant each day because of their inability to yield satisfactory results in terms of authority, link quality, and generated traffic.
If you’re looking for strategies that could equally compensate your time, effort, and money, it is imperative to consider the aforementioned white-hat link building tactics.