Historically, link building was critical for companies to appear in search results, as links have long been an important signal to search engines. However, the new link building is about mentions, social visibility, and building your company’s presence, says Alison Groves, Product Coordinator at Raven Internet Marketing Tools.
Groves presented her three simple steps to link building for businesses in a presentation this morning at NMX Las Vegas. Her process, she says, revolves around relationship building and nurturing in order to earn mentions from relevant websites. We need to focus less on the technical and more on attracting targeted traffic by getting our sites in front of the people most likely to be interested in our product or service, she said.
With those goals in mind, here are Groves’ three simple steps for link building:
Step One: Research
What is a relevant website and how do I find it? Look for relevant websites for your business, locally, in your industry, etc.
Start with a simple Google search and query descriptive, long-tail keywords. Take it a step further and add a site operator (keyword-site:domain.com) to weed out the site you already know about and discover new sources.
Don’t forget that Facebook also has an internal search. Not only do you find relevant websites, but you can see the social aspects of it as well and begin to build relationships.
Use the web catalog to find out which websites link to the site that you are examining. Start building out your list of relevant, trusted sites.
Step Two: Outreach
You’ve curated a list of really good, high quality, relevant websites. Now how do you get a mention from them to bring awareness to your business?
Stay on point with your story. There are a few simple rules to remember when doing outreach:
- Be genuine. Tell your story, be compelling and let people know you’re passionate about what you do and not just hitting them up for something.
- Don’t immediately go in for the kill. Build relationships first, no one wants to write about you the first time they’ve ever heard from you.
Start at Social Mention, where you can type in your keyword and see real-time mentions across a variety of social sites. This helps you identify people for outreach and you can actually start building a relationship within the platform, as it is connected to social sites.
Create Twitter lists to curate people around relevant topics and begin to contact people to start relationship building.
Try out Rapportive to find contact information on people you’re interested in contacting. You might already have the person’s email, but this gives you access to their social presences, where you might choose to connect or follow up.
Step Three: Keep Relationships Going
As Alison said, there’s no “wham bam thank you maam” in link building or online relationship building. Nurturing relationships is incredibly important and pays dividends over time. Always reciprocate and share the love you’ve received from website owners.
In link building, it’s critical to stay organized and hang on to as much data as you can. Even in a simple Excel sheet, keep track of the date of your first outreach, dates of follow ups, the types of links you’re working on or have acquired, the site domain, the website owner’s contact information and any other information you may need to track your link building efforts.
Conversation notes are a handy tool, according to Groves. It’s helpful to have a reminder of a conversation you might have had months ago, to avoid an embarrassing situation where you forget how you are connected with someone.
See the entire process outlined in Groves’ presentation from NMX: