In a recent post on the Point Blank SEO blog, Jon Cooper rants about how he feels that for 80% of businesses content marketing is grossly overrated. He says that extensive content development plans are fine for big budget clients but that most agencies in the industry work with SME’s. Whilst I wouldn’t completely agree with Jon, his post did get me thinking about link building apart from content marketing and how sometimes we can get a little pre-occupied with content and perhaps miss the low hanging link fruit. I thought I would have a look at these tantalising fruits and discuss whether or not they are actually all that juicy!
Directory….a word that now makes many of us wince but as a post on Search Engine Journal recently pointed out this shouldn’t necessarily be the case. Forget about sites called things like 123seodirectoryonline.co.spam as these were never there for the user but to game the search engines. What about niche directories though, directories specific to your clients industry and most importantly, directories that people actually use? In the SE Journal post Ryan McLaughlin tells us to look for directories that have relevant content & messaging, an active forum, an events calendar and a resources section. He tells us to avoid directories that require a reciprocal link to register and have low PA. He even goes so far as to recommend calling the directory owner to discuss your listing with them. There are many genuinely useful directories out there (think something like Hitched for weddings or The Law Society lawyers directory) that can strengthen your link portfolio.
Most small business owners have a whole host of business acquaintances that they know to varying degrees. Once they understand the value of a link from their mates site or the site of someone that they have worked with in the past (providing it is a relevant and quality site), they normally won’t mind asking. Many legitimate business sites will already have a partner’s page and are unlikely to mind adding the details of an acquaintance whose offering is relevant to their customer base. The other alternative is to offer to write a high quality blog post for them which offers their users some great info or an introduction to your products and services.
Lists & Curations
Many organisations and websites will maintain lists of their favourite products and resources. For example a university website might keep a list of the best places in town for students to buy their stationary from or the best websites to go to as a reference around a certain point. If you have a relevant website then it is most definitely worth getting in touch to see if they will add your site to their list.
I recently got a .edu link for a client from looking at their competitors back link portfolio. One of their competitors had a link from the .edu site in question and I knew that it was achievable for my client. It was part of a high quality list, a bit like the lists and curations I mentioned above. I contacted them and they updated their lists with my client’s details. Competitor analysis is a great way to discover link opportunities without trawling the web, someone else has already done that for you!
If you are just starting out with link building go ahead and have a go at these tactics whilst you are putting your content plan together 😉