<< by on August 21st, 2009
One thing I’ve learned, being a new home owner within this last year is that old saying everyone has heard: “you can’t put the cart before the horse.”
Boy, isn’t that true.
The same thing goes for link building (and SEO in general). A site cannot get to the top of the heap without doing the work. This means that there is a particular method you need to follow before you even start building links. Regardless of editorial or directory link building, you must have good and trustworthy content. If your site sucks, it doesn’t matter what your tactics are. You have to be able to keep users on your site. You also want them sharing it with others.
Know Your Audience
The more you know where your audience is coming from and needs, the better off you’ll be. Wasting energy on tactics that won’t result in getting your site visibility is not a smart move. Do your research and see what other successful sites have been doing. What keywords are best? Yours are going to be different from competitors, yet still similar as well.
Don’t mirror their tactics; find your own. There is a certain amount of research you must do, so do it and then start creating content that your customers will be able to use. What do you know that your competitors don’t? What can you offer that you don’t see being offered elsewhere? The more knowledgeable you come across to your audience, the more likely they’ll share your site with others.
Once you’ve established what your product is, find the niche areas where you best belong. Go from general to focused. You want to get the word out to the general pop but then you also want to focus on those who already know what they’re looking for. What are users searching on? How easily can your site be found by your core audience?
This also means posting responses in forums, blogs, Twitter etc. Get yourself into the social scene and create trust. Keep in mind that usually comments are NoFollow (due to spam issues) so they will not pass Page Rank. They could result in someone liking your input and clicking over to your site, however.
Trust is everything in SEO. Networking can yield big time referral traffic because referrals already have that trust built in. Just make sure you don’t do anything to lose it.
Change To Meet the Need
“Recently, I reviewed analytics for one of our sites and found we get a lot of organic traffic for “B2B selling”, nearly all of it pointing to a single page on the site. We don’t really focus on B2B selling. We focus on B2B marketing. While related, they are different. And because the rest of the site is focused on B2B marketing, the page getting a high amount of organic traffic for “B2B selling” has a high bounce rate.”
Galen’s suggestion is that rather than dismiss such traffic, it’s a good idea to develop content to hold that organic traffic on the site.
“Whether it’s subscribing to the blog, downloading an eBook, subscribing to a newsletter, reading to a related article or blog posting, to sharing something with a colleague. After all, people searching for “B2B selling” likely have colleagues focused on B2B marketing.”
Galen also suggests that by using your analytics tools, you can focus your content based on the multiplied keyword bounce rate by the number of visits. Sorted in descending order, you can then figure out on which landing pages the visitors land and provide content for these visitors to keep them engaged in your site. Later on, you can check your reports again and see if your strategy has worked.
Stimulate Out of the Gate
One thing that you hear a lot is that your headlines need to be compelling enough to get readers to click and read. This is also something that will hold them on your site, reading other posts. If you have boring and non-descriptive headlines, it might not matter how awesome your posts are if nobody is reading them. Copyblogger has a great post about this very topic.
Another way to attract attention is link bait. What is link bait? It’s not what would be considered “normal” content I guess. It tends to be thought of as something that is a level or two of compelling above normal writing. There is something about it that makes it just a bit more attractive to readers. It could be that you’ve finally found the solution to an age old problem. Or you’ve witnessed something that nobody else has. Whatever it is, it makes you stand out in the crowd and compels.
If you have good stuff, people will want to link and many times, share it with others. This could result in one of the best things: becoming a subject matter expert. If you’re known to have unique ideas and appealing content, this could really lead to some great visibility for your site. Word of mouth is very powerful.
Link Building with Directories
Now if you’ve tweaked your site and you want to do more than blog posts and the like, you can use directory building. The main deal with directory link building is to make sure you’re placing your effectively focused information in a place that is a DOFOLLOW directory. If it’s got free and NoFollow-it’s probably no good. Sure, you can put the time in and it is possible that you would yield some indirect traffic, but generally you want to focus your efforts on the free and dofollow directories.
Directory building is a crazy kind of boring. Let’s be real. If you can get past this and build your lists of where to submit, it will become just part of the process. Set your sites on building a certain amount of links per month. Don’t try to build 500 links. Keep it manageable. The more organic looking, the better. Several months down the road (sometimes sooner depending on approval times) you’ll start to see your site pop up in these directories.