Link building is a challenge for most organizations. Over the years I've tried dozens of link building strategies for inbound marketing and the 14 techniques below represent the top ones I've tried.*
Produce high quality content that positions you and/or your company as an industry thought leader. Make sure your content is geared towards one of two things or both – solving problems and entertaining.
Produce unique content. It doesn’t have to be the written word either. Any digital asset (i.e. video, audio, documents, presentations, animations, games, etc.) that is unique and valuable in nature is definite link bait.
Go viral – This phrase is used so much that it’s almost cliché, but if you can find the right combination of entertainment, creativity and value you can get hundreds of thousands of backlinks in a few days.
Do competitive research with SEO Quake. This tool will allow you to look at your competitor’s backlinks so that you can duplicate as many as possible. You won’t be able to duplicate them all, but you should duplicate the ones you can.
Issue press releases. Press releases tend to get picked up by multiple websites across the internet. Additionally, press release sites tend to have lots of authority.
Guest post on other’s blogs. If you post to someone else’s blog you have every right to link to supporting content on your blog or website. The more you guest blog the more backlinks you’ll develop.
Invite people to post on your blog. If you have a guest post on your blog your guest will help promote the content. This process will introduce new people to your blog and create great natural backlinks.
Leave comments on other people’s blogs. I’m not saying to do this merely to drop links in your comment. Although, if it’s appropriate to do so, by all means do. However, if you make a habit of leaving your “quality” two cents on highly read blogs you will naturally arouse the curiosities of other readers who will click on your name, go to your site and explore your content. This process over time will garner you many more followers and many more backlinks. It can also lead to a guest blog invitation!
A quote from Jeremy Dearringer, The Director of Search Engine Optimization R&D at Slingshot SEO that I will remember forever: “If you write about how AWESOME I am, I will link to you.”
Make your site easy to bookmark and share. These are backlinks. There are dozens of websites that offer free share buttons for you to customize and drop on a website. Your content has the potential of being in front of many more eyeballs if you do.
Directories – There are thousands of website, blog and local directories that allow you to submit your website or RSS feed. Take advantage of them.
Submit, Submit, Submit – Most digital assets that you produce can be submitted all over the internet. Videos can be submitted to YouTube, graphics and pictures can be submitted to Flickr or PhotoBucket and presentations can be submitted to Slideshare and Box.net. Most of these submissions can include a backlink to the original content.
Be Visible – By being active in social media and forums you are raising your content’s visibility and increasing the likelihood of it being shared because you are known by the community and you are sharing content. By sharing other's content in social media and forums your content will be shared too. Reciprocity is a fundamental tenant of a thriving social media community.
Buy an existing domain – This is an underutilized strategy. If you can find an existing website with a relevant domain to your business and thousands of existing backlinks, why not buy the website and use their URL for your site? You’ll want to create a backlink migration plan with 301 redirects to keep all of the backlinks however. Keep in mind, redirected backlinks tend to have about 75% of the juice that a non-redirected backlink would have.
If you have other techniques that you've found successful please share them in the comments box. We love to learn new inbound marketing SEO strategies!
*Note to SEO trolls: Yes, some of the above backlinks are no-follow links, but Google reserves the right to follow a no-follow link. Just look at your Google Webmaster Tools link report.