Everyone wants to feel important and popular, and the digital world is no different. Marketers work hard to create awareness, drive traffic to websites, engage with customers, and reach out to new prospects willing to buy their products and services. This is the natural flow of business, and even though all companies may have these goals in mind, only some brands really stand out from the crowd.
Growing your website popularity helps you grow the overall business in so many ways, but first and foremost it builds trust. And in the SEO landscape, we know trust can be a strong strategy. Search engines analyze the popularity of a website based on the quantity and quality of other pages linking to them. Trustworthy sites usually link to other trusted sites, and that’s why link-building has become so important for marketers.
However, having a huge number of inbound links doesn’t necessarily mean your website will rank better on search engines. In some cases, less is more. The key is to filter out from millions of active websites and blogs we have today, the ones relevant to your industry and business, which are also popular, trustful, and are authority on a given subject.
After prospecting the right sites and blogs for your business, and creating engaging, relevant, and valuable content to share with your audience, here comes your next, and probably the hardest, challenge in this process: effectively reaching out to these people. In other words, we’re not only reaching out to people for links, but we’re actually successfully securing inbound links.
What most marketers don’t realize is the huge existing gap between point A – the need for links, and point B – getting the link. And surprisingly or not, the key to success, most of the time, is hidden in this deep valley. The good news: you can have an effective link-building campaign by bridging this gap wisely, following four simple and easy steps.
Step: Getting To Know Your Prospects
Yes, technology is changing faster than anything else, but keep in mind that websites and blogs are still made of people like you and me. So, before you even think of sending an email asking for a link, stop and spend some time getting to know the person behind the screen. The right place to start? Their site or blog.
By spending some time on the blog, you can easily find more information about who is writing, their history, what they like to write about, their style, how they engage with other people on social media, and most importantly, how they prefer to be contacted.
Step: The Art Of Networking in a Digital World
Networking has never been easy. And in the Digital World, it’s no different. You still need to start a conversation, share relevant ideas, listen to what other people have to say, write comments, and connect with them when appropriate.
However, one thing is definitely true: the Internet and major social media channels can make networking much easier. Before you start a link-building campaign, and after spending some time getting to know your prospects, you need to start networking.
It’s really important to subscribe to their blog, but most of all you need to actually read some of their latest posts. And if they have a social media presence, make sure you’re connected. You should consider at least Twitter and Facebook, but depending on your industry and business, other channels like Pinterest, Instagram, or even LinkedIn can be effective too. Be sure you have a consistent profile throughout all platforms, and whenever possible write a customized and personal message inviting them to connect with you.
Step: Engaging Effectively Before the Outreach
Just because you are connected with your prospects on Twitter, it doesn’t mean you are engaging with them. Like any other relationship, it requires time, but once connected, you can start bridging the gap effectively. Here are some suggestions:
Once again, the first place to start is the blog itself. After reading the most recent posts, share some on social media, but most of all, write a relevant comment, letting the author know who you are and what you think about the post. Believe it or not, most bloggers actually read these comments, and sometimes that’s where a new relationship is born.
Use your social media profiles to retweet, share, or comment on a post relevant to your business. Start a conversation showing that you know who they are and why this relationship is valuable to you. Always think about how you could help them first. The link request should come naturally, and after some time you will get a better sense of when is the right time to do so.
Blog Post: Another way to show you’re there to help is to write a blog post about their blog, or related topic, mentioning and recommending their blog as a good resource. You can even engage before, asking for more information, other useful blogs, and other people you might want to talk with. After it’s done, share it on social media, and let the blogger know about your published post.
Step4: Building Long-Term Relationships
You prospected, connected, and engaged. After a while, you decided it was the right time to effectively ask for a link to your blog, website, or a specific material you created. But don’t be surprised or even frustrated if even after all the efforts you don’t get your link back at first. Remember, your primary purpose is to build a trustful relationship. If the person is not comfortable with sharing your link just yet, take your time, and keep working on it.
On the other hand, you may be successful and get the inbound link right away. In this case, remember that your primary purpose is still to build a trustful relationship. Always say thank you, recognize the person’s help whenever possible, and most of all, keep an ongoing conversation towards a long-term relationship. You got your link now, but you might get much more than just links in the future. Keep this in mind.
The Prize of Doing it Right: Business Success
Link building is nothing new. There are a lot of ways of doing it, but only one way to do it right. When you build a strong relationship and work hard to create real partners, you get more than just links; you get the chance to get to know someone related to your business, who knows the industry and your target audience. It’s an opportunity to learn more, share information and maybe even work together in the future. No technology, no algorithm, and no search engine will ever doubt the power of a strong, real and long-term relationship.