Link Building Opportunities Big Brands Miss

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I often talk about big brand SEO strategies and how I feel that they are taken for granted. Part of the reason is that we don’t take SEO seriously and part of the reason is the typical myopia and partial ADD that we suffer from. Many of us tend to spend hour analysing and working on data and less on strategising and understanding the brand. We look at SEO as a series of keywords that we want our clients to rank for in the SERPs – after all that is what we are getting paid for right?

But if you take the time to actually step back, relax and take a look at the business and the people behind the brand, you could potentially end up with some really cool ideas and options that you may have missed. Before any SEO strategy is put into place, I spend at least a few weeks   trying to understand the various stake holders in the business. The people and the concept behind it are often the key drivers of the Brand and its success – this should be the same for SEO.


One of the strategies I think Big Brands lose out on capitalising on their huge staff base.  Let’s take a step back first – what are the two things that we always find that are important to SEO? Links and content. A solid volume of links helps us rank – and the more of those links we can influence the anchor text of, the better for us right? And content? Good quality content isn’t easy to put together – especially if we are working on a budget – it is often hard to find writers who understand the topic you want to write about and do it well.

Both needed in volume, and both need to be quality. And we need to be able to influence them both.  Now let’s talk about the size of the companies that constitute a Big Brand. Huge.  Simply huge. Even an average size Brand gets about 200-300 staff. So WHY aren’t we speaking to these people? Who understands the product or services better than the people who sell, make, market, test and produce them?

So Content and Links – From Staff?

So my idea for those of you who work on Big Brands (and little ones!!!) is to take some time out and potentially start an internal stakeholder analysis whose aim is to identify potential internal resources. How? Well take a view – of those x Numberof employees, a high proportion of them are active on social networks. A few of them are active on review sites and other forums. And another portion are active on the blogging scene.  What does that give you?

  1. Potential quick anchor text specific links you can get from employees that have their own blogs.
  2. The ability to really seed and viral link building campaign by that x volume of people, without even approaching external parties to help you do so.
  3. Identifying those who are capable of writing copy engagingly.

How I Do This?

I typically start with getting a simple incentivised internal survey put together – the questions would be based around their involvement in social media, blogging and sites outside the business. I encourage participation by offering a prize, and the promise of potentially earning more in the future. Most people love getting recognised – and you would be surprised at the results you get from these surveys.

The next step isn’t that hard – you would segment those responses in the same way you would, say your link building sites. I normally categorise by nature of site, or social media interaction. What does this give me? An excellent base to start using internal staff to help seed or build links for viral campaigns.

I would then work out and agree incentives for those who would be willing to help – after all Brands spend thousands getting links, a few incentives for internal staff will not be a problem – and you get buy in from key people by giving them recognition. At the same time you can use some of these surveys to identify good writers – and potentially engage them to write content – which of course they can earn a few extra bucks for!

There are plenty of such opportunities that Brands miss out on, and often – over the next few months I will be trying to put some of these together – hopefully some of you may benefit from the ideas.

Rishi Lakhani

Rishi Lakhani

Rishi Lakhani is a UK Search Strategist who works with a range of Big Brands on SEO and Online Marketing. He Guest Blogs for a... Read Full Bio
Rishi Lakhani

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  • footinmouth

    Hmmm I see the benefit, but bigger companies have more layers of bureaucracy, and it may be difficult for a marketing manager to convince department directors to “give up” the time and focus of their employees, unless those directors are brought on board with the idea first.

  • Rishi Lakhani

    @footinmouth which is why I insist on understanding all stakeholders – The post on Blogstorm i linked to encourages integrating SEO with everything a business does…

  • Go2Mach2

    Good Post….Thanks

    I can see the point made by “footinmouth” – The larger the company, the more people looking out for their own self interests. Your ideas have merit but I think it needs to work from the top down….someone high enough on the food chain needs to say Let's do it…..Thanks again

  • Raza

    Pound for pound, SEJ and SEOMoz's daily blog have some of the most actionable SEO content I've found on the web.

    Leveraging existing employees' blog and social media presence is pretty clever.

  • Martokus

    Totally agree with the last 2 comments above me. As a representative of such a company (around 350 employees) I must agree that such approach needs to go from top down. Everyone has its own responsibilities and it's difficult to prove that spending time spreading the word is more valuable for the company compared to the day-today activities of that employee. What's more, the ROI from pure old fashioned SEO is not very attractive now and unless such activities are highly justified, they are not likely to be accepted by top management. Useful for very important campaigns, otherwise I'd prefer everyone to do his own job.

  • professional seo services

    That's true Rishi i entirely agree that taking some time on internal stakeholder analysis whose aim is to identify potential internal resources would allow you to achieve the goals

  • McGarrell Reilly

    it is right to 'get' some links from your staff's social networking site such as linkedin, we have couple of quality links from our senior management boards, sweeeet !