Link building doesn’t just happen online…it can quite easily happen when you’re nowhere near a computer, when you’re simply talking to someone, wearing a t-shirt with your site’s name on it, sneaking in a mention of a URL during a quick chat or a major speech, etc. In short, there’s much more to building links than can be undertaken using a keyboard and a persuasive email.
Dropping Your URL in Conversation
Case in point: the lovely and talented Lisa Ditlefsen, co-founder of my blog, SEO Chicks, and amazingly talented offline marketer in her own right. Lisa, possibly not the most prolific blogger (to hear her tell it) due to a massive variety of reasons (like winning tech awards, parenting, and being busy planning a wedding), remains our most important link building asset. How does she do this? It’s simple…she constantly promotes the SEO Chicks at every relevant opportunity. Whether being interviewed on video or going to lunch with the head of a major IT firm, Lisa’s talking us up, and we’re getting links.
Promotional Products People WANT
Second case in point: It’s no secret that BOTW gives away the most coveted t-shirts at every conference.
Their logo-emblazoned attire adorns the majority of SEOs at least a few days out of every year, and I’m happy to speculate that several elderly men at my gym could identify this company on the basis of having to exercise behind me when I’m on the treadmill. A free giveaway turns into an amazing marketing technique. Their pink tank tops really are spectacular.
Professional Speaking and Networking
Conference speaking, for many, is the key to getting some truly fantastic links for their sites. There’s the bio in the conference bulletin, there are live blogging sessions, there are posts that reference controversy, and, as always, there are the exchanges made of business cards and personal information. This builds links. You fascinate me with your opinion on link bait, I write a post about it and link to you, someone else references my post which links to you and they link to you in turn, and so on and so forth.
How, then, can you leverage this for a business that sells tulip bulbs, for example? Since women are the minority in SEO currently, marketing SEO Chicks really isn’t too tricky…but what if you need to get links for something a bit more mundane?
Give stuff away: people love free stuff, no matter what it is. I, myself, have snapped up free crap at every possible occasion, especially if it’s orange or it bounces/glows. Put your URL on it, and give it away. Even if this does not get you a link, it most likely will bring in traffic, and that’s the bottom line. Whether it’s a really nice hoodie or a tacky sheet of stickers that your kids will adore, this kind of thing gets your name out there.
Be Nice to People
Be nice to people in social situations: typically speaking, if you’re a nice and polite person with even an ounce of charm, other people want to talk to you and hear about what you do. Good time to sneak in your company’s name with just enough of a sense of mystery that the person you’re talking to can’t help but find you online. Whether they know your URL or they use a search engine to find you, the point is that they’re looking for you, and they’re seeing what you offer. They might even link to you for some reason.
Hand out business cards with your URL on it: yes, this may sound boring and old-school, but it does get people to come to your site, and if those people have sites and like you, they may link. Cram the card into a fishbowl for the chance to win a free lunch at your local Mexican restaurant, pin it to the bulletin board at the coffee house down the street, and give it to every single person you meet. One bit of caution here, though…if you’re planning to use a business card for serious marketing, please make sure it’s professional. This isn’t the time for cuteness.
Make sure your friends, family, and connections know what you do: I can’t count the number of times when someone’s said “I really wish I knew someone who did x” and I’ve been able to pipe up with a contact. Knowing what others do, and having them know what YOU do, is key to keeping yourself out there. People tend to be good at reciprocating niceties such as this, and the more good people you recommend, the more you’ll be recommended in turn. Some of these people may have sites…