It’s 2014 and there have been a ton of changes in the search marketing world. But one key SEO ingredient has not changed: links. Links are still super important. Creating a realistic link building strategy that works–can greatly improve your search rankings over the course of the year. But link building has changed to such an extent that the term itself can be a bit missleading. Google’s algorithm updates have rendered many link building practices obsolete. For this reason, I think we need to stop thinking about “building” links and start thinking about “earning” them. You need to create enough value online that people can’t help but link to you. This means creating great content, running a great business, building powerful relationships in the business community, and leveraging contacts through social media, blogs, and more.
Here’s my top 6 link building strategies for 2014.
1.Make your business newsworthy
If your business is the kind of business that people like to talk about, then it will naturally acquire links as people discuss and interact with your brand. This means positioning your business as the leader in your particular niche and developing your story, voice, unique selling propositions and more. The more exceptional and memorable experiences that your customers and clients have, the more links you will get. How can you make your business story-worthy in 2014? What can you do that makes your business stand apart?
2. Always publish
If you are constantly creating new content for your website and blog, then there will always be plenty of content for people to link to. Think about the audience you want to attract to your business and find out what information they are hungry for. Don’t be afraid to ask your clients and customers, friends and relatives. Draft up a huge list of subjects that you can turn into informative blog posts or videos.
Create a content calendar and stick to it
Always share your content on social networks
Develop relationships with other content producers and do occasional blog trades
Use keyword research to inform your blog topic ideas
Create evergreen content: articles that are in-depth and have staying power
3.Build relationships not links
This is a big one. Build relationships with influential people and businesses in your field. Follow influential social media users, interact, and learn from them. Positive online (and offline) relationships will often naturally produce links. Once you have built a relationship with an influencer, asking them for a link shouldn’t be too hard either. Just make sure you offer them value in return.
Use a tool like Followerwonk to search Twitter bios for keywords related to your field and then follow users that have good stats (lots of followers and tweets).
Another cool tool, Topsy.com allows you to plug in a url of a popular blog post and see all the Twitter users that shared it. Now all you have to is use Google blog search, make a list of popular blog posts in your area of expertise, and start following Tweeters.
4. Give links to get links
Write blog posts about your favorite companies, products, and services, link generously, and share your articles on social media sites. Make sure to tag the business you write about when you share you article and follow up with these companies by email a few days later. Tell them how much you love their product/service (be honest) and invite them to share your post.
Make sure to promote other people’s content and do more than just hit the Retweet button. Offer your own thoughts and opinions. Flattery will get you everywhere, but it’s important to be honest too.
5. Guest posting
Guest posting is still a great way to get a link to your site. As you build relationships with people in your industry, offer to do a guestpost on their blog and make sure to include a link back to your site.
6. Get listed
Make sure your business is listed in important directories and on social media sites. Stay active on these sites and grow your audience. Social shares and “likes” are links too.
Getlisted.org is a great tool that allows you to see what directories you are listed in and what directories you still need to sign up for.
What link “earning” strategies do you plan to employ in the New Year? Let me know in the comments below.