10 Link Building Tips We Love From SMX Panelists Past and Future
In 2014 “inbound marketing” is all the rage; but does that mean traditional SEO techniques like link building are becoming outdated or irrelevant? Absolutely not. We at Bruce Clay, Inc. don’t think so, and, based on the conferences we’ve attended in the last eight months, neither do the SEO thought leaders that teach thousands of rank-hungry professionals at search marketing conferences like SMX, ClickZ (formerly SES) and Pubcon.
That said, there is undoubtedly a right way and a wrong way to approach link building – or “link acquisition” as it’s commonly called in 2014. And, like all other optimization techniques, there’s an etiquette to the art that can take some training.
If you’re ready to start your training today consider these 10 link building tips a healthy dose of SMX room service. Soak up the panel wisdom; wrap your head around how to ethically approach link building; get your feet wet; feel out the waters; and, if you like where we’re going with this, we encourage you to consider attending the Link Building Fundamentals portion of the SMX Search Marketing Boot Camp coming up just around the corner in March. Code BRUCECLAYSMXW14 will get you a 10% discount on any pass and workshop at the conference.
We’ll be there liveblogging; we’d love to see you, too!
10 Smart Link Building Tips from 3 Smart SMX Panelists
The Case for Content as the Center of your Link Acquisition Strategy
Preview From Upcoming SMX West Speaker Debra Mastaler, President, Alliance-Link (@DebraMastaler)
1. Since webmasters are now responsible for the quality of their inbound links as well as their outbound, it is extremely important to know and trust the people you’re co-marketing with. If you place content on someone else’s website, know the people behind the site and its history before doing so.
2. Consider using multiple formats like video, infographics and podcasts in addition to written content as a way to attract links and traffic to your website. These formats have a higher chance of going viral and can be added to social media pages for additional exposure.
3. Use content tracking software to see what appeals to your audience, how long they view it and where it travels. Doing so will give you insight that can inspire improved content development and help protect against plagiarism. Search on “content tracking” and “dynamic watermarking” for ideas.
Link Relevance and the Difference between Natural and Unnatural Links
4. Link relevance is incredibly important in order for Google to pass full PageRank juice. Make sure the links you acquire are on websites that are relevant to the niche you want to be an influencer in. For instance, a link to a dance company from an umbrella website isn’t worth much.
5. If you can dictate the position or anchor text of a link consider it “unnatural.”
6. Google uses all kinds of statistical analysis to determine if a link is “natural” or “unnatural” based on a baseline of what it considers “normal.” With all the mathematics involved there’s really no way to game the system; you can’t look natural, you have to actually be natural.
7. Create a compelling reason to link to the site. Think: How is my site useful for people? If it’s not useful, make content that is useful. Then you’ll get those links.
How to Make a Content-Centric Link Building Pitch More Productive
8. When contacting a website to see if they want to publish your content for link building purposes make sure your pitch is focused, fast, and novel. If the recipient feels like your pitch is going to take 15 minutes to respond, or if it’s too high level, it will be deleted. Desperate emails get deleted.
9. Never start your pitch email with a dry introduction that looks like potential spam (e.g. “I’m an SEO company representing my client”).
10. You want the recipient you’re pitching to think of publishing your content as an opportunity — not a favor, or worse yet — work. Including mention of a response deadline in the email can help shift their mindset.
With the searchscape changing drastically on a regular basis, link building and its role seems to be a hot topic these days. These tips do a great job introducing the idea of link acquisition, and how to get started with a campaign, but they’re really only the first step in a 50,000-step link building foot race. (I couldn’t bear to say “tip of the iceberg” one more time, but they are also that — just the tip of the iceberg.)
If you want some more elaboration, or have a desire for link building discussion, ask and ye may just receive! All three SMX speakers mentioned can be contacted directly via Twitter (@DebraMastaler, @MartiniBuster, and @WebConnoisseur), we’d be happy to field your questions in the comments section below, or you can catch Debra Masala for a face-to-face chat after she speaks at the Search Marketing Boot Camp on March 11 at SMX West in San Jose.
Remember, code BRUCECLAYSMXW14 will get you a 10% discount on any pass and any workshop at the conference!