Let me start off by saying that the title of this post is slightly misleading, as I’m assuming you are already employing some form of link building campaign and/or content marketing strategy. If you’re not, then stop reading this post right now and get to work! If you are wondering what the benefits of link building are, check out this piece that explains link equity, also called link juice or SEO juice.
But if you are doing some form of link building, then congratulations – you’re off to a great start. You’ve done your research, invested time, energy and money and produced some great content. You’ve conducted outreach, pushed this great content onto influencers and other industry keynotes, and you’ve obtained some of the ever elusive relevant and contextual backlinks. Congratulations! Time to rinse, wash, and repeat…right?
Before moving on to your next piece of content, sit back and ask yourself this, “can I do anything more with this great content that I’ve already produced?” If the answer is yes, stop reading and get to work! If the answer is no, hopefully you’ve had some success, and it’s time to explore how you can build off what you’ve already accomplished.
Correcting the Source
More often than not, webmasters are usually great people. We all share a common goal of making this crazy network of information called the World Wide Web a better place for everyone. It just that, sometimes, mistakes happen, and that’s just how life goes. In this constant struggle of publishing relevant content and up-to-the-minute breaking news, it’s very possible that a webmaster might misidentify a source. Maybe the webmaster was in a rush, maybe they got distracted, or maybe they just didn’t know any better, but if you’ve had a successful content marketing campaign in the past, my guess is there’s a lot more link potential out there than you think. For example, let’s take a look at this older blog post from an SEO company called Rise Interactive: http://www.riseinteractive.com/blog/post/what-is-seo-a-complete-beginners-seo-guide
We can see that the post was first published on May 29, 2012 and after examining this page’s backlink profile in Open Site Explorer, we see that it has a Page Authority of 35 with 28 total links from 7 root domains and even some social activity. Depending on the amount of outreach they performed, this certainly could be considered a successful campaign by some.
Unfortunately for Adam, one of the Rise Interactive employees involved in this marketing effort, there’s still some untapped potential in this infographic. Digging deeper into the blog post’s backlink profile I was able to learn that Adam published this infographic to Visual.ly in an attempt to further market their content, which is a great first step. The unfortunate part is that there was no follow-up to truly capitalize on that play. The URL for the Visual.ly post is http://visual.ly/easy-guide-seo and upon running this URL through Open Site Explorer we see that there are an additional 13 total links from 4 root domains, one of which is a DA71 website!
At this point, the content is virtually marketing itself, and all Adam would have to do is send over a quick email to the webmasters citing the visual.ly link, explaining that they are the curators of the infographic and politely ask them to update/replace the Visual.ly link with a link to their original blog post. By expending virtually zero additional effort, Rise Interactive could have earned a hyper-relevant link from a DA71 website!
This play can be applied to many different platforms too, but the concept remains the same. For example, say your website has a lot of great, original photography. One idea is to upload your pictures to a Flickr account and set up corresponding alerts through the Fresh Web Explorer. Generally, when linking to a Flickr image, webmasters will use some combination of Flickr Account Name + “Creative Commons 2.0” or Flickr Account Name + “CC 2.0” with a link pointing back to the image’s Flickr URL. By creating these web alerts, you will receive real-time notifications that a website has linked to one of your Flickr images, giving you the opportunity to reach out to the webmaster and politely ask that they link to your homepage/product page/blog post instead of the Flickr page.
Slingshot off Amazon
If your business is an online retailer of products, there’s a good chance that Amazon is one of your competitors. They currently rank within the top 20 positions for an astounding 12.3 million queries at the time of writing this article. It may even be very possible that you use Amazon as a platform to sell some of your products! While it’s certainly smart to use the brand awareness that Amazon has to sell your products, there is another way to use Amazon – a way to aid in your link building efforts.
So how is this done? It’s simple – just email webmasters that are currently linking to your Amazon product’s page and ask them to replace the link with one from your official website. Sometimes webmasters are reluctant to replace an Amazon link, which is mainly due to them being an Amazon Affiliate partner and thus they earn a portion of the sale when their affiliate link is used to make a purchase. Are there ways around this? Of course! One thing you can try to do is make your product pages more of an informational resource rather than just another place to purchase the product. By providing valuable information on your product pages you increase their page equity and thus increase their link attractiveness. What is considered valuable information? Well, that depends on the product, but it could be a “Buying Guide” or an FAQ. You could provide scientific findings that correspond with the product, or perhaps film an instructional video on how to properly use the product.
This tactic is not just limited to Amazon, either. By increasing the value of your product and category pages and doing a little competitor backlink analysis you can email the webmasters linking to your direct competitors, showing them the value-add that your new and improved page brings and why it would be a more valuable resource for them to link to, and therefore replacing your competitor’s link with your link. Not only are you increasing your backlinks, you’re decreasing your competitor’s – a link building grand slam!
iTunes App Store
Similar to asking webmasters to replace an Amazon link with one of your product links, if your company or client currently has an app available on the iTunes App store then there may be some serious untapped link juice just waiting to be acquired. Try running your app store URL through Open Site Explorer and see what comes back. Although linking to the app page on your website adds an extra step to the conversion funnel for the target site, with the right value add you can easily convert a high percentage of these links. According to CNET, over half of United States mobile phone users operate on the Android platform, which potentially means that over half of the target site’s readers are Android users. By including a Google Play download link on your official app page, you can easily demonstrate the value to the editor linking to your official app page rather than just the iTunes store.
Unlinked Brand Mentions
By no means is this tactic new or innovative so I’ll make this short, but it rightfully belongs in this post so I have to mention it. If websites are writing about your company or brand, they should be linking out to your website so their readers can learn more about your company if they so choose. Basically, if your brand name is relevant enough to be mentioned within their article or post, it’s certainly relevant enough to deserve a link. By using Fresh Web Explorer you can set up alerts that correspond with your brand/company/industry and you will again be provided real-time alerts when a website is talking about you. At this point, the hard work is already taken care of and all you have to do is email the writer or editor and politely ask that they convert your brand name into a link to your website.
While there are numerous ways to build links to your website, what we’ve covered in this post are some of the easiest and least labor-intensive white hat strategies out there. Just remember that when dealing with webmasters and asking for a link that you should always be polite, and you should always be providing true value.
Author Bio: Brett Bastello is an SEO consultant at Inseev Interactive, a digital marketing company located in sunny San Diego. His favorite sport is ice hockey.