This week, Matt Cutts made another announcement about guest posting being a bad way to build links. People (including myself) have been warning about this for years. Whether it is the mommy and product review bloggers listing in “Media Kits” that they are “PR Friendly” or the people who still allow article submissions – you have to be smarter with your link building strategies. You don’t have to be a huge brand with a ton of money to get links, but you do you have to be smart and creative.
Because you have a ton of technology that didn’t exist in the 90′s or early 2000′s, you can still build a ton of high quality links and rank your sites. Here are three different ways you can build backlinks that are high quality, relevant, inexpensive, and don’t require guest posting.
However, before I give these advanced link building strategies I want to go over quality content. Why because link building is based around having something unique, relevant, and high quality.
What is Quality Content for Backlink Purposes?
Quality content is going back to the basics of SEO. It means providing an amazing user experience for everyone involved. Quality content is as simple as having an easy-to-use process for completing a conversion and finding information that people want to share. It adds value and gives actionable items without a ton of fluff or filler. It is also something that will appeal to and be informative to your user base, the person shopping, and to the journalists and bloggers that write for your industry’s trade publications and blogs.
Now think about how I defined quality content and look at how you can apply it to the three link building strategies below.
1. Building Backlinks with Video & Technology.
For the past two years, I have been using and now work with a company called Viewbix. Viewbix is a customizable video player with over 20 interactive apps that let people sign up for your newsletter, shop through calls to action, or even stream YouTube channels through the video player. When a Viewbix player is shared on sites like Facebook and Twitter, the majority of functionality remains in tact giving you increased exposure to everyone who follows or sees it in a newsfeed. This strategy helps you use video to build links naturally and effectively. However, this only works if you have an engaging and informative video (quality content) that people want to watch and share.
So, how does it work? Once you create a video, select the apps that are most relevant for the content. For example, if your video is about Blue Widgets and you have a video series, an infographic, or sections about other uses for blue widgets you will want to reference these within the video as additional resources.
Once you place the video inside the player, you can use the YouTube app to stream other videos from your series so that people can see you are able to back up your knowledge with more detailed videos about the same topic. Also, make sure you reference different episodes or resources on your website within the videos so people know where to find them. Viewbix takes this a step further with their list app which lets you open the app midroll and display a link, description, and image to the exact locations you are referencing. If you don’t want to interrupt the video, you can set the list app to open at the end to display everything you referenced giving the viewers a way to find your resources, share them and hopefully link to them instead of your video.
What is the List App?
The list app lets you upload a list of images, descriptions, and trackable links to your video. By using the list app, you can link to the high quality posts you reference within your video, plus any infographics, or anything else you reference in the video. By having the list app open at specific times during the video, people can find the relevant pages and resources within your website if they want more information.
The last thing to remember is to make sure people can reach you. Your main call to action can be a button on the player that says “Buy Now”, or you can include a phone number, contact form, or email link. Even better, add the Skype app so people watching the video (even on Facebook and Twitter) can call you through the actual video. The ability to get the attention of journalists and bloggers with the video and have a direct line of communication to you during or after watching the video is very powerful. This is why Viewbix is an amazing way to build backlinks with your videos. You can track, measure, test and then repeat the process to drive a ton of quality links if you do it well. Viewbix has both free and paid versions, so I highly recommend you try them out.
2. How to Build Backlinks with Webinars.
Everyone spits out webinars as a link building method, but I haven’t seen many people who are able to really make it work. An executive from a large company may be able to get a million people to listen, but to often when I hear someone higher up speak, it is a ton of fluff and means people are less likely to link to you. Instead, they link to the Executive or “Authoritative Voice” site, to your webinar sign-up form (on another site), or anywhere but your own url. Use the big name to attract a lot of people, but also have people who work in the field for a living give actionable items while playing nice with the “Expert”. This will result in higher quality content that users will actually want to reference.
Things to remember for generating backlinks from Webinars.
There are a few things to keep in mind when using webinars generate quality backlinks:
- Have actionable items people can take away with the resources existing on your website.
- Host the description and information about the webinar on your site so as people share they come to you.
- Make sure to have internal links to relevant resources on your site for the panel members to review before the webinar and be able to reference during it.
- Have the webinar signup, listen, and download pages on your site. If it exists on your site, when people share and link to it, you get the social signals and backlinks.
- Remember to include social sharing apps on the webinar download page if it is different from the sign-up page.
- Link to guides, resources, and infographics that reinforce topics from the webinar on your site from the sign up, listen to, and download pages. Do not include spammy content!
- Include links when one of the resources on your site is mentioned so listeners can see them.
- Make sure to mention your url, thank everyone for attending, and remind them when and where the recording will be available.
Webinars can be an awesome way to attract links. By having an authoritative voice you can bring in bloggers, journalists, and listeners. By having other panel members with solid experience to share actionable items you can get a lot of great follow ups and people referencing the webinar. If they reference it or mention it, there is a good chance they will also link to it.
3. Go old school! Building backlinks with traditional PR.
Remember in the stone ages when people read these magical things called books and magazines that were made from dead tree byproducts? These paper things were a great way to get people to find your brand. They would find you in magazines and newspapers and then pick up this other magical device called a land line telephone. At some point there was a person called an operator that would connect you with the person you were trying to reach. This could easily be the first form of SEO! How you can use this old basic model to build quality links back to your site?
Pitching newsites with bylines & article ideas.
In the past, appearing in these publications would bring more attention and drive more calls and foot traffic to your store. In modern times, we call these visitors, links, and traffic. It’s really that simple. You either buy ad space in the publication or pitch an idea to a journalist to write about a topic and include you. Think about what traditional PR firms did before the internet and tie those practices back into your link building strategies.
Host an industry event or use direct mail.
Host an event and invite your local bloggers, journalists, and industry people. Send out affordable and relevant gifts. Make sure they are eye-catching, unique, or somewhat insane like what Grasshopper did with their chocolate covered grasshoppers. Having a creative PR and Marketing team that can work within a budget or no budget, or even getting a group of local businesses together could build enough buzz to generate interest and get a ton of high quality links. You can do it online or offline, depending on your business.
PR isn’t dead. It has become cliché mainly because everyone is copying everyone else and not always measuring KPIs or Metrics. Find those unique and creative people and start listening to them. They are usually hiding in a cubicle or are frustrated because other people get the attention within your company. Kick the kiss ups to the side and let everyone share their creative ideas in an open and safe environment. Your next PR pitch that could build a ton of high quality links could be hiding with the person who is ignored, sitting in a corner quietly and doesn’t get attention because they don’t speak up much. You may even consider a secret submission form where everyone submit their ideas and retains a second copy so when you pick the idea, only the right person can claim it!
You can take what Matt said with a grain of salt, or ignore it (which a ton of people will do), or you can go back to the basics. I prefer to go to the basics – which is building quality content that people will find engaging, want to share and link to. Once you have the quality content, create a sales or lead funnel that is easy to follow and find a way to get your information out there.
Even if guest posting was dead, which I honestly believe it is not, there are plenty of other ways to build and attract high quality links to your site. Use technology to enhance your current marketing and help people discover the great content and resources available on your site. If you do webinars, think about how you can incorporate the resources your site provides into the conversation. You also want to remember to go back to your basics. Sometimes using traditional and offline marketing is the best way to attract the right audience and get you high quality backlinks. Tradeshows, direct mail, and even standard media pitches are great ways to build buzz and drive high quality and authoritative links.