Attracting links to a site can be a tough job, as link building has become an incredibly important part of the SEO mix, and more of a challenge as search engines are discrediting link brokers. Organic linking still has its place in the SEO mix because the art of building a natural link can be time consuming and at times frustrating.
Recently I helped my wife launch a new fitness site, and by doing so I’ve been testing some of the most basic linking techniques and theories. What has astonished me is that even though her site is only 2 weeks old, she is receiving a lot of positive feedback and links from sites she has emailed, asking for a link. Is it still possible to blindly email someone asking for a link and receive it? Yes, it can be, especially if your site is Link Worthy!
So, how does one go about making a site linkable? Here are some tips that will assist you in your link building.
1. Presentation : First impressions mean a lot, even online. The way you present you site means a lot to the person who may be linking to you, because by linking, they are making a warm introduction for you to their site audience, which includes search bots. If your website looks like it was thrown together overnight, or may spam the hell out of the people they will send to you … chances are they’re not going to send a link your way.
This does not mean that you have to have a million dollar website to attract links. Look at DailySEOTip for example, we wanted this blog to be barebones, and that’s what it is. But the barebones approach serves a purpose because this site is about information and sharing. What’s your site about and how well does it represent your business?
2. Personality : One reason I think my wife’s site has had such a high positive response rate in linking requests is because the site has personality. Since her site is a blog, her photo and personal info is on the site, and her photo is on all of her posts. This gives the reader of the blog a sense of warmth, like they really know the person.
Not only does the blog reader feel like they know the person, but also does the recipient of the email. If you’re sending out an email link request, please make sure you send the email from a web address associated with the site or company (especially if you represent a big brand). The reader of the email, if they click to the site, should instantly associate the site with the person who sent the mail, making it more difficult to say no.
Not only blogs need to have personality. A lot of business sites will feature the CEO of the business, the guy from your commercials or an employee of the month. How about an image on the homepage or about us section that says “Meet Our Team” (check out this Google search for “our team” for some ideas) and shows a group photo of your employees?
Who represents your site or business? By adding a personal feature to the site itself, the site speaks to the potential linker on a human level.
3. Interactivity : Giving people something to do on your website will get them interested and active on the site. Sure, blogs are inherently interactive, with commenting, polls, tagging, voting and other tools to get the reader, or potential linker, involved.
Look at DailySEOTip.com as an example. Our goal here is to have robust comment conversation that will impact the visitor to our site the first time they glance over the blog. Personally, I know everytime I visit ShoeMoney‘s blog or TechCrunch, the first criteria I look at to judge the value of one of their news stories or blog posts is the commenting and interactivity; and most of the blog entries on these sites attract hundreds of comments.
Make your site more interactive by giving your visitors a way to contact you or leave feedback, include polls to gather info on your visitors, use quizzes or tools to get readers or potential customers involved. The potential linker will also get involved, probably like what they see, and there is a higher chance that they will link to you or respond to your email.
4. Accountability : Sure, you may have personality but are you accountable for your site? Can you be reached? Having a contact information page, an about us section and an address which matches your email information (always use a sig in your email when asking for a link) are basic pillars of an organically grown website, but you would be surprised how many businesses or online publications overlook these simple steps.
Be sure that your site is listed on your LinkedIn profile or your Facebook account. This way the end user, who you’re asking for a link from, can see that you’re serious about your site and they won’t be linking to a dead page, a redirect or worst of all, a splog after a year or so.
5. Are they in good company (current inbound links) : A smart publisher is going to check out a little bit about the site history and inbound linking before making the final decision on linking over to you. For this reason, I suggest taking the time and resources to build some nice inbound links via directories like Yahoo or Best of the Web before going on an all out aggressive link building campaign.
Once these links are established and the publisher you have contacted checks your backlinks, they will be impressed that you are listed in these major resources and this also shows that you’re serious about your linking and linking for the longterm.
Be picky about where you build your links, because publishers are going to be picky about who they link to. If your backlinks are all Guestbooks, Article Spam and Freebie listings, this does not only reflect negatively upon your site in the eyes of Google, but also in the eyes of the publisher who may link to you.
6. Social Proof : One great aspect of blogging and social media is that it is very simple to show off the people who read your blog or visit your website via widgets from MyBlogLog, TwitterCounter, Facebook or Google Friend Connect. These tools lend a sense of value to your site and assist with establishing the site as an authority.
Look at the commenting on DailySEOTip.com for example, next to every comment is an avatar (powered by Gravatar – be sure to register with them to get your face on this site). This helps to show a new reader, or again, potential linker, who reads the site. If your site is a resource on venture capital and your MyBlogLog box shows that Guy Kawasaki recently visited your site, then this uncovers an instant association of value and resource for your site. Publishers are more open to linking to resources that have value
7. Targeted Resource : Relevance is Key : You may have noticed that I continuously state in this blog post the importance of establishing your site as a resource. Using techniques like adding an expert blog to your business site, a business term glossary or regional resource pages to your site can be worth the effort, especially if you are looking to target specific niche groups or geolocations.
For example, say that your business or organization is looking to attract targeted local oriented links from the Philadelphia area. Let’s take home security systems for example. Sure, your home security business may reside in Pennsylvania, but nothing on your site relays this fact except for the mailing address on your contact us page.
I would suggest adding a section to your site with plenty of information and guides to security and crime in the local area, adding a list of police, fire & rescue contact information per zip code, geotargeted neighborhood watch group information, articles on securing a home & family and post-trauma counseling groups in the Philly area. Now you have a locally targeted resource page that is extremely relevant to your business and incredibly link worthy.
When you approach local publishers, bloggers, family sites .. etc. about building links to your home security business, don’t just ask them to link to your homepage. No! Ask them to read and link to your local home security resource section! This won’t only help with attracting inbound links, but also with local SEO for geotargeted terms.
Oh yeah, now you have something that’s not only linkworthy, but also news worthy so :
- send out a press release to your local newspapers and wires
- then also email the local fire departments
- county commissioners and town government websites
- senior citizen centers and neighborhood associations
- boy scouts, churches and other local organization sites
Chances are you’ll end up getting links from .edu and .gov bodies which your business would not have had a chance to build otherwise.
These were some ways to make your business site more link worthy and SEO friendly. The more resourceful, relevant, interactive and personal a site can become, the higher chance that you’ll receive a positive response from any link building campaigns.
What are some method you use to increase your linking probability?
What tips do you suggest for successful link building?
Share them in the tips below and we’ll feature the best ones in a future post on DailySEOTip! Also, don’t forget to leave a comment below and share this post on Twitter, because we DoFollow our comments and you’ll receive some great links