There is a lot of speculation abound as to whether link building as a SEO strategy is dead. I don’t believe it is dead, but I also don’t think the old way of doing link building is a good long-term strategy.
As with any SEO strategy, the key to favorable search result rankings is relevance to what someone is searching for. The cornerstone of relevance is great content and useful landing pages. One of the best ways to achieve linking building is to create great content on a regular basis and people will organically link to it.
The best way to do this is through the combination of a blog and an active social media presence. This should be a simultaneous process and it’s important to understand that success from this will not happen overnight. You can “post and pray” – meaning you can write blog after blog and hope that it drives organic traffic or you can use the power of social networks to actively promote it.
This can be frustrating at first. You spend time writing a blog article 1-2 times per week only to promote it to a small following on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. But if you keep after it, you see it start to grow and that’s the fun part.
Here are three main steps you can take to begin building an organic link building strategy:
- Build Your Network: Create a presence on the major social media platforms. Over time you may discover more niched social networks that may be smaller but are more targeted to your market. The main places to be are Twitter, Google+, Facebook and LinkedIn. The next step is to start following people and engaging with them by sharing your thoughts and interesting things you come across in your daily activities as well as commenting on their posts. This, in turn will start to build your network as people reciprocate the favor and begin following and interacting with you. I would recommend spending about 30 minutes each day doing this. It’s a small amount of time with a potential big reward.
- Blog: This can be one of the most intimidating parts of your marketing campaign, but it doesn’t have to be. One of the easiest ways to make it easier is to create a content calendar. This can be done by thinking about your business and the different segments or markets you serve. Try to come up with four different topics that represent your business and customers and assign each one to the week of each month and write about it. When trying to think about what to write each week, one of the easiest ways to come up with content is to think about the most frequent questions you get from your customers and write about that. Chances are, if your customers are asking about it, your potential customers are searching for the same answers on Bing and Google. You can also write multiple blog posts ahead of time, queue them up and publish them over time.
- Promote: Once you’ve written your blog post, share it with the world. Promote it on each of your social networks with a catchy title and a link using a link shortening service like bit.ly.
As with anything, data collection is important. Make sure that you have visibility into what happens by using a link shortening tool like bit.ly that has built in click statistics. This will help you hone in, over time, on what your audience is most interested in and what drives the most traffic and, most importantly, turns into leads and sales. It is also important to use an analytics platform like Google Analytics to not only track activity on your blog, but your entire website.