Building Links? Ask Yourself A Question: "What's In It For Them?"
Written by: Nick LeRoy
Link building is undoubtedly one of the hardest SEO tasks to complete. The days of blog commenting, forums links and spinning articles are long gone. If you want to rank highly in the search engines you're going to have to work for it. Very rarely does anyone these days do anything for anyone else out of the kindness of their hearts. It's all about reciprocating kind acts and offering value to other people. This is the key to link building! What value can you offer webmasters in which they would be ecstatic to link back to your website? Below I will discuss just a few ideas that may just be enough to get some fresh links.
1. Article / Blog Content
Content is one of the best ways to drive links back to your website. The more unique the content the better chance it has of driving both traffic and links. If you're going to write content that has already been covered what additional value can you add? Can you add images, graphs, quotes, or videos? Maybe you can include an interview with an industry leader regarding the subject? People love to read content that is new to them, provokes emotion, or benefits them one way or another.
2. Badges / Widgets
Is your website a fan site? How about creating a badge that shows support for the local team or an "I Love Lady Gaga" badge for your blog devoted to the popular artist? Hardcore sports fans love an opportunity to show off their team pride and crazy teens are always in competition to prove that they are the artists' number one fan! It's pretty simple to create these badges. Make sure to host it on your site and offer the code snippet (including a link to your site) to all your visitors.
What better way to answer the question "what's in it for them" then to offer a prize to your loyal visitors? The bigger the prize the more interest people tend to show. With that said don't be surprised when you have no entries when the reward is a personalized copy of a book you wrote that nobody has heard of. Rolling with the idea of a contest based on garnering links to a site devoted to your new book. Do you write children's books? Purchase/acquire a signed copy of the Harry Potter books. Make it so that each contestant has to write about their favorite event in any of the books on their blog and link back to the contest page (You could even give them a banner or badge to use *hint hint). When a winner is selected send them the prize along with your new book! You not only did you acquire links via the contest but you also built up some exposure for your new book.
4. Manual Link Requests
This technique isn't the most effective way to gain large quantities of links but when you want to single out specific sites there is a right way to do this. The key is to make sure you are offering a service to the webmaster. Can you create a list of dead links on their site? Can you offer design help or redesign their site or a couple graphics? As you can see it's all about what you can do for them. Completing in any of the above would increase your chances of the time the webmasters not thinking twice about giving you a link back to your website. This link building technique isn’t necessarily easy, but who said link building was easy?
5. Guest Blog Posting
What better way to show a webmaster "what's in it for them" then by actually giving them content to add to their website? Most blogs are willing to give you an author byline at the end of the article where you can freely promote your own website or blog. Also, in addtiion you may also have the opportunity to link back to your site within the blog post itself if the link is appropriate to the content being written. That's two link opportunities on a domain that you otherwise probably wouldn't have had an opportunity to get a link from.
I would like to clarify that guest blogging is not an opportunity (for the most part) to write promotional content. Nor is it to be used as a link farm to dump 10 links back to your site. If your post looks like you're only interesting in the links the webmaster is probably going to reject your post. In addition, this guest blog post is really an audition. How so you may ask? If you submit junk then readers will assume your website is junk. Sure the link has already been acquired but the ability to get the direct traffic will be loss. Losing this traffic kills any chance of additional conversions or even future link opportunities.
There you have it, 5 actionable strategies to ensure you have an answer for the question "What's in it for me?" Don't waste your time spinning articles, posting on forums or sending hundreds of spam e-mails to webmasters. Give them what they want and they will give you what you want back, LINKS! Do this right and you will find yourself at the top of the search engines in no time.