The importance of Search Engine Optimization continues to grow as a very important part of the marketer’s toolbox. At a time when most people do not search beyond the first page of Google results, the importance of a highly optimized site is hard to understate. That being said, the process of optimizing websites has undergone quite a few changes, especially over the last two years. Where meta tags and keywords were once the holy grail, now it seems search engines are most interested in how many incoming links you have coming into your site and how high-quality those links are. Because of this shift, a lot more emphasis is placed today on quality link building.
As with so many things in the marketing world, there is a good way and a bad way to build incoming links to your site. What are some of the best ways to accomplish this goal? Here are five ideas.
Directory sites, even local ones, can be good ways to drive inbound links to your website. Granted, directories are not the most exciting things in the world, but they are effective because if someone is doing a search, a directory can lead them right to you. Some directories require an investment and sometimes, depending on the size of the directory site, the investment can be fairly substantial. Make sure you keep this considerations in mind as you work out your link building strategy.
2. Online Buyers Guides
At least in the B2B world, a lot of publications still offer buyer’s guides in both print and online formats. Make sure that the links from the online version aren’t “no-follow” links. Again, often these opportunities will require an investment, so be sure to carefully measure all options before starting your strategy.
3. Examining what links are going to your competitors’ websites
This will usually require the paid services of an SEO firm, but it is possible to look at your competitors’ websites and see where their incoming traffic is coming from. In some cases, you might find, as we did in one such scenario, that your competitors have a lot of “junk” links coming into their sites. However, you might also unearth valuable ideas that you can explore for your own company. This also could help you in other marketing areas as you make sure you are present wherever your competitors are.
4. Press Releases
Yes, they are a stalwart part of the “traditional marketing” strategy, but press releases have proven their value in the ever evolving online world. If your press release gets published on an online publication site or if you use a mass distribution service like PR Newswire, valuable links can be built back to your website. Google likes links like these because the content is informative. Of course, you want to make sure that your company URL is incorporated into the release, and it’s also a good idea to maximize the effect by including important keywords, too.
5. Social Media
Of course, social media is one of the newest and best ways to drive traffic to your website. Links from sites like YouTube, Twitter, and blogs can help build your incoming traffic quickly. We have to caution you not to think of this as the “free” strategy. If you are just starting social media marketing now, it may take awhile to build enough trust to entice people to click links that you share. Time is money, as we all know!
There are of course many more complex ways to build your links, too. We recommend talking to a credible SEO firm if you want to really attack this issue effectively. A simple, innocent slip can get you flagged by Google and other search engines, especially with Google recently launching the more aggressive Penguin. Better safe than sorry!
In the meantime, if you have any questions about our tips here, just let us know in the comment section below. \
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/marciookabe/3102556540 via Creative Commons