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Link Building Strategies

6 August 2017

Link Building Strategies

If you have your own a website, link building should matter to you. Here’s why.

When you create a website or you work to revamp a preexisting one, you quickly come to realize that not everyone is going to find what you have written. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) means optimizing your site for automated searches (such as are done by Google’s spidering bots that seek content all the time) and for human searches. People and bots don’t search in the exact same manner. In your list of tactics for getting searchers to notice your site, you need to consider both types of searches. Tip too far in one direction, and you will not be able to reach the other type of searcher. Balance and intelligence matter. If you’re asking, what is SEO link building, then read on.

In a sea of websites that are a lot like yours, you need an SEO link strategy. Why do so? Because a big part of SEO consists of building links that will give your site more cachet with Google. Google wants to give more love to sites which it finds to be more authoritative. And the easiest way to demonstrate a higher degree of authority is with backlinks. But you can’t just spray your shots, hoping against all hope that someone will take pity on you and link back to you. Therefore, you need some tried and true strategies.

So let’s look at some relatively low hanging fruit. Most of these are free, but they can often be time-consuming. Much like Rome, this is not done in a day. We’ll use a site about a summer camp as our example in our link building guide. Of course, your own strategic plans may (and probably should) differ.

Link Building Methods

Submissions

One of the easiest tips is to located directories where you can just submit your site. As an SEO strategy, one of its greatest advantages is speed. You go to the site you like, you usually fill out some sort of form, and you’re on your way. Here are the details for these kinds of strategies.

Ask People You Know

Yes, really! Consider not only your mother (hi, Mom!), but also business associates and connections from places like LinkedIn. Of course, the best opportunities are going to be with highly-regarded websites, particularly if they have a subject matter connection of some sort to your website. Hence your mother’s archery website wouldn’t help much for a site about dog training, but for your site about a summer camp, it does have a relationship. And it will be even better if Mom’s archery site ranks well on Google. You can use this as a form of tiered link building, as it gets you backlinks from a variety of sites.

Directory Submissions

Submitting to directories is still one of many well-known and legitimate kinds of tactics. For example, if your site has a blog, you might try blog directories.

A subset of this is submitting to company directories. When you consider your project, a company directory should be a given, but only if it is meaningful. Therefore, for natural link building, it makes sense for your summer camp website to get a listing with other camps. It does not make sense to list it with construction companies, no matter how good the links are on the construction company list.

Also be sure to consider free web directories. This particular technique can be a mixed bag. Some free web directories are so obscure that they can’t help you. Therefore, you will need to check them. A part of the “how to” is to use your time wisely. Submitting to 50 directories with poor reputations and SEO will take longer than submitting to five directories with high quality reputations and excellent SEO, and Google (and other search engines) prefers the latter to the former, anyway. Make sure that the sensible use of your time is on your list.

Get a Wikipedia page for your site. Apart from being cited as an authority, probably more than it should be – and because it’s cited as an authority, Wikipedia is one of the biggest websites around. However, understand that Wikipedia makes an effort to keep its quality level high. While they have mixed results, having a content review system is actually one of their own strategies. For Wikipedia, their reputation and their authority can be questioned if they are giving an link to a company or individual who, in their eyes, doesn’t deserve it. So if your summer camp is brand new and nobody knows about it, Wikipedia probably will not want to keep its page up for very long. But if your summer camp has been around for a while, then Wikipedia will be a great choice when you are thinking about where to start.

Content-Based

Blogging

If you’re not already blogging as one of your link building ideas, well, what are you waiting for? Blogging all by itself isn’t what we’re referring to, but rather you need to use it as a part of your list of tactics. How? You can comment on others’ blog posts and add their blogs to your blog roll. Yes, you are giving them a link to point back to them. And that’s the idea.  Many people are more than happy to be a reciprocal SEO link builder. And even if they aren’t, they will often comment on you mentioning them. Keep in mind – other bloggers are often in the same boat that you’re in. Hence if you are the one who reaches out first, you are essentially telling them that their blog is valuable.

In order to make your blog appealing to others, you’ll need to provide content of value. One way to do this is to respond to someone else’s blog. And of course you will be using a link to point to them. Take an opposite stance, or enhance what they wrote by filling in something they might have forgotten about. You don’t have to be an expert at everything – just at something! For our summer camp example, a blog could be about useful topics such as the sort of exercises you need to get in hiking shape for the summer. Or it could be about fun topics like a ‘where are they now?’ section about campers or counselors from years ago. Either way, it is important to see this as a valuable SEO link building strategy. For the post about getting into hiking shape, you could cite local doctors or even chiropractors, or gyms or personal trainers or even dietitians. For the fun post, you could ask the post’s subjects to send in images or personal anecdotes. The content doesn’t have to be just about serious stuff.

Guest Blogging and Article Writing

Now, I’m not talking about the old article submission concept.  It is one of the oldest techniques and, while it’s still technically valid, it won’t give you a lot of bang for your buck (timewise). Instead, the idea is to go beyond the one-offs and get a regular column. Work to develop a relationship with an online magazine or news blog or newspaper, and start small by submitting as a guest. Continue submitting and, as the site permits, add profile links to your column. Even the most staid of media sites will usually allow you to add a link back to your personal website or blog.

Guest blogging is a great option because it appeals directly to bloggers who might have trouble cranking out content. For bloggers who are falling short of inspiration, your guest blog will help them out and give them content. So in exchange, you want to get links back, either in the blog post, or your byline as a writer, or on their blogroll – or all three. This can be a good way to get relevant links, when you write a guest post for a related type of site. For our summer camp example, there could be blogs about horsemanship, hiking, or camping gear. Understand, however, that this has been one of the more common strategies, so Google might eventually take action against it. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

This kind of backlinking strategy works best if you are a decent writer, so polish your prose! This is tied to a specific skill. Fortunately, writing is taught in virtually every college or university, and in lots of places online.

White Papers

Inevitably, someone needs research they can cite, or a media outlet needs some sort of intelligent deep dive into a topic. You know such a topic – everyone does – whether it’s about how to groom a poodle or make a blueberry pie or a fast and foolproof method of teaching the Pythagorean Theorem. White papers are authoritative, and they are meant to be detailed, so you will need to do research and it should be from an authority with more reliability than Wikipedia (a lot of Wikipedia is reliable or at least points to reliable sources, but controversial topics like global climate change are often footballs kicked around by the contributors).

Unlike a research paper, when you write a white paper, you know exactly where it’s going. It can help a lot to make an outline. The outline does not need to be detailed or lengthy. The white paper does not have to be long, although you should not skimp on the details.

For our summer camp example, a white paper could be about the dynamics of working with young teen campers and older teen counselors, or even about the nuts and bolts of running the camp itself. The white paper presents a problem, runs through a list of scenarios, and offers up the best solution. A white paper, when written well, can often be accepted as an online guide by a lot of people. You can even write them about several different subjects and see how they do. The summer camp white paper could be about the best white water rafting gear or how to provide the best camping experience to teens with Asperger’s. Think about as many different things as you can, and ask for help from coworkers, family, and friends. What are their problems? What kinds of solutions do they need? It’s not just about how to keep link building, but also about providing solutions.

Case Studies

Case studies differ from white papers in that they are based upon real research and numbers. You will have citations and a bibliography, just like in school. You can even interweave your personal experiences into the study although be careful about bias and sample size. Just because you’ve seen X every single time Y happens, that doesn’t matter much if there are a billion X’s and Y’s and you’ve only seen twenty of them together.

For the summer camp, a case study could be on how transgender teens do in a mixed summer camp environment or about what happens in terms of weight loss or gain when teens exercise all summer with no calorie restrictions. Clear and well-crafted (and properly formatted) citations are important, so either use APA Style, MLA, or the Chicago Manual of Style. Who knows? Your content could end up as a beloved online guide someday.

Evergreen Content

There’s content with a short shelf life, and then there’s evergreen content. For our summer camp website, evergreen content could be a list of what to pack for two weeks in Maine in July (pro tip: bring insect repellant). This content is good for years to come and it will never really go out of style, although it might occasionally need a review to make sure all of it continues to be relevant. This list can be used to build links because it will speak to people going to Maine in July. They don’t even have to be going to summer camp (or sending a child there). This content is perfect for SEO because it is somewhat independent of what your site is even about.

Seasonal Content

Timely and seasonal content can be huge for certain business niches. Consider how card companies profit during the Christmas season and around Valentine’s Day and Mother’s and Father’s Day, or how ski pole manufacturers do when the snow starts falling. Our summer camp will have different content, depending upon the season. Summer is a natural for up to the minute news, but winter is when parents and their children make their decisions on which camp to attend (or whether to attend at all).

Seasonal content & SEO strategies are more than just adding a red, white, and blue background for Independence Day. Know your calendar, and you can even take advantage of all of those odd commemorative days we see so much of now, such as Blueberry Pie Day (April 28). Even companies which have nothing to do with blueberry pie can run promotions (such as text #BLUEBERRYPIE for 5% off), and yes, that is another way to improve your processes.

Newsjacking

Newsjacking is a lot like seasonal content on steroids. It’s not just timely; it’s up to the minute timely. David Meerman Scott, the coiner of the term, sees it as a way of injecting your ideas into a breaking news story so that your ideas get some traction and are noticed. He calls it both an art and a science. Newsjacking could get you retweeted several times, or your content could end up going viral.

 

However, there some two enormous downsides or rather caveats to newsjacking. For one, think about content which lasts more than a few days or hours (or even seconds in some situations). Newsjacking is often here and gone, seemingly in an instant. It might be a decent strategy, but your great content is all gone tomorrow, a lot of people won’t see it. Another issue is that newsjacking requires that your comments and ideas be relevant. Can a summer camp in Maine comment on the unveiling of a new iPhone? Probably not, unless camp’s the comment is extremely clever. Oreo’s ‘you can still dunk in the dark’ tweet during a power outage at the 2013 Super Bowl was brilliant and on-point. Newsjacking also has a very short shelf life. Not only does your work go away quickly, but any commenting at all has to be at lightning speed. Finally, newsjacking can go horribly, spectacularly wrong, wrong, wrong. Imagine commenting something seemingly clever to newsjack an assassination. Enough said. That is not how to do link building.

Multilingual Content

Many people who don’t speak English still want to send their children to summer camp. And even if your camp doesn’t have anyone who speaks another tongue, that doesn’t mean parents of potential campers will always be fluent when it comes to reading English. After all, the parents are one of your audiences. Multilingual content means you can also submit your site to non-English directories. As a result, it serves more than one purpose. This can also work as a tiered method, as your links are coming from a lot of different kinds of sites.

Video Content

If your content lends itself to motion and video, then why not record it? Instructional videos and explainer videos are content which audiences might watch over and over again. Your subject matter can be fun or at least educational. What if you have changed the method of doing anything from using a product to registering on your site? Even if you have updated your instructions elsewhere, a video tells a story that words just can’t. Video has the advantage of being shareable and even transformable. Users can stop your video content, or go over it frame by frame, or even pull out a piece of it for a still image or a .gif file. Also consider a number of places where you can submit your video, beyond YouTube (but don’t knock YouTube; it’s the world’s second-largest search engine behind Google). If you saw an interesting or funny or helpful video somewhere online, chances are that your interesting or funny or helpful video could be accepted there. So look for submissions, even on large blogs like Huffington Post or the like.

If you’ve got an inspiring video, consider all of the sites where you’ve seen such content, and submit content there. Video is also great as a combined effort. You can consider guest blogging and then not use our own video(s) to illustrate the points we are trying to make. You can use video to make what is essentially a moving version of an infographic, too. Video can be the perfect partner to a lot of strategies.

Social

Relationship building

When a lot of us think about social media, we think of the media part first. It’s all about the platforms and posting schedules and the like. But the social part is just as, if not more, important. We encourage you to develop relationships, even with your competitors.

Having a friendly rivalry on social media can be a good thing. Understand that very often the social site’s links will have limited play on Google. But that’s okay. This time, we’re trying to reach human searchers. When you and your competition engage in your friendly rivalry, you can trade links. Imagine a poll where your summer camp and the one on the other side of the lake are vying for the title of ‘best summer camp’. You can use the polling site where every time you ask for votes, you are build links to the polling site. In return, with your link (and that of your competitors) on the poll, every time the poll is voted on or refreshed, your link is out there and people will see it.

Another species of links is to give valuable information without the anticipation of receiving a reward. That is, you can add links without planning on anyone returning the favor. Give out information for free, perhaps. When someone blogs for you, try giving them profile links without conditions.

Also, you should participate. Be a part of others’ surveys and polls and Q & A, for they may remember that when it’s time for them to take action. Socialize! That means Google hangouts and Skype sessions and attending conferences where, you know, you actually spend time with your fellow human beings. Always remember your efforts are for more than just getting links for SEO; it’s also about building relationships.

Blog Commenting

It may seem like low-hanging fruit, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a worthwhile form of natural link building. Don’t try any old blog. Instead, be sure to blogs that can be crawled by search engines. In addition, you want to only be commenting where there is some hook to relate back to your site. For our sample summer camp site, we would suggest for you to comment on a blog about scouting or the like.

Forums

Getting social also means giving freely of your time and your expertise. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be wholly related to your site! Some will tell you that constantly talking about your product or service might not be the best way to endear yourself to fellow forum denizens. Yes, you do want to engage in on-topic conversations. However, you also want to go a little off-topic– particularly if it’s related to your site and what you’re all about.

So for our summer camp site, if we share our expertise about building a lean-to shelter or caring for horses, we can build trust. If you’re only seen as a link builder for SEO, then you’ll be held at arm’s length. Remember what I said about relationship building? If you sound like a nonstop commercial for your site, then your labor there will be for naught, as your fellow forum denizens will tune you out right quick.

Or you can make your own forum! Making your own forum means you have more control over what’s allowed. Your own forum could also be a place to post content, maybe even a link building guide like this one. But there’s more to forums than that, after all, a lot of companies use them as a substitute for basic help desks.

Q & A

Q & A can be anything from answering questions on a site like Quora to an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on reddit. These tactics are more subtle. You can answer a question about summer camps, then go take a coffee break.

Newsletters

If you’re like me, you get a lot of newsletters and you might not even remember why you signed up for them in the first place. Or they might have outlived their usefulness. Don’t be like that! You want your newsletters to be a decent for your readership. That means they have to want to open your newsletters and read them. Therefore (as we’ll see later in the section about creating useful things), your method is to provide useful information or perks. For our summer camp, the newsletter can have news of campers or of construction. It can also be a great idea to consider coupons for 5% off a week, or a cross-promotion with a place that sells equipment for a free canteen with $100 in total purchases. This sort of cooperative technique can help both our summer camp and the equipment seller. As we build that relationship, we might even be able to create a relationship with the equipment seller’s site. Be patient and think of them like planting seeds.

Claim External Profile Pages on Social Networking Sites

For social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and even LinkedIn, people continually look to them for recommendations on which goods to purchase, which services to avail themselves of, and which art they might enjoy. In between talking about politics or looking at pictures of cats, they also make complaints. And woe be unto the company which does not have a presence where complaints are being made – because those complaints will be made, whether you are there or not. Fortunately, you can also use these social media platform profile pages. Even though, often, the links you put on these sites aren’t findable on Google, they will still help you. Your customers will still see them and share them.

You should always count Facebook in the mix. Most of the United States, and many other nations, use it in place of old telephone directories. Any worthwhile link building guide will tell you that if your business isn’t on Facebook, a lot of people won’t even bother with it. So while you’re busy building links, don’t forget about Facebook.

Twitter is shorter bursts of information, but a lot of people use it for quick complaints. You may not think of it as a good opportuniy, but even addressing complaints can help you out, as you publicly tweet about, say, where the person who is complaining can go to fill out a formal complaint if you can’t handle it on Twitter directly.

LinkedIn, while mainly used for business networking, is still recommended by link building firms because it is often seen as serious.

Google+ is more useful for its connection to Google and than any other reason.  It hasn’t really taken off like Facebook when it comes to social sharing, or like Twitter for quick bursts of information or inspiration. But no campaign would be complete without including Google+, because Google itself takes Google+ serious for ranking purposes.

Reddit is good for sharing information among like-minded people, but also for reaching celebrities directly (assuming they agree to an AMA – ‘ask me anything’ – session).

Flickr, Instagram, and Pinterest are more image-heavy. If you have excellent images, why not turn them into inspirational images with quotes – and a link to your site? Take these easy to share images into consideration. Since they can sometimes become unmoored from their original links, put the name of your site and a short URL in the lower right corner of the image.

Snapchat and Kik are considerably more youth-oriented, and they are meant to be ephemeral. These aren’t the kinds of platforms for a long white paper or an involved campaign. But they are still useful for a backlink strategy, particularly if you can make a splash with youth.

Tumblr is more of a blogging site and it can be nearly as image-intensive as Flickr and the other photo-centric platforms. Tumblr should be on your list of tactics because it is youth-oriented (although not as young as Kik and Snapchat users tend to be) and the people who use it are often very loyal to it.

For our summer camp, Facebook could be used to connect future campers with people who have already attended. Twitter can be used to provide updates to anxious parents during the camping season. Flickr, Pinterest, and Instagram will be good for showing off the grounds to prospective campers and even keeping interested persons up to date if there’s new construction during the off-season. They can be part of a strategy by working with campers who took pictures at the camp itself.

For the summer camp website, LinkedIn is an ideal means for prospective counselors looking at job openings. Google+ is good because of its connection to the search engine. Reddit could work among people passionate about camping. And Snapchat or Kik can be great for reaching teens who are trying to convince their parents that they want to attend camp. As for Tumblr, it could be a great place to reach counselors and campers who are aging out of camping but might want to return to become camp counselors.

In addition, for all of these sites, be sure to add your site to all permitted profile links. Connect together as much as you can.

Social Bookmarking

Social bookmarking sites are a little different from social networking sites. Sites like Digg or Delicious (Pinterest can also be seen as a social bookmarking site) allow users to essentially curate the internet. These sites can be truly valuable.

Claim External Profiles on Review Sites

You’ve seen these – they are sites where anyone can review a site or a service or goods sold. Probably the best-known is Yelp, although Amazon also has reviews (while not, primarily, serving as a review site like Yelp is).  The way these sites are organized is, there is a profile for the business being rated, and then reviewers visit that page and rate the company. The more information available on these profiles, the better they are. Many such sites allow for adding your URL, a menu listing if your business is a restaurant, a map, hours of operation, and more.

If you are selling a product on Amazon (and if you are selling a product, then you need to be on Amazon as much as you need for your site to be indexed by Google – Amazon is that popular), consider the many features of an Amazon seller’s profile. You can use an Amazon profile to list their website, yes, but they can also build a link directly to their blog feed. They can use their Amazon profile by adding a link to every separate product page. Amazon won’t allow just any old link, but if you have a demo for your product, or an instruction manual, Amazon is another great opportunity.

Local

Local Organizations

For our summer camp example, is there an organization which licenses them or rates them? Then another idea is to join such an organization, or request reviews.

This can be another species of tiered link building, as your SEO linking strategies will be coming from a lot of dissimilar sites.

Host and Sponsor Events

Whether it’s your own event or someone else’s, if you’ve got the space, then open your doors. Consider how anyone with a website hosting an event locally will include your site (their guests will need the address). And after the event, courteous guests will do more local linking when they thank you.

When it’s your own event, you can get local linking from a site like MeetUp (if your event is through them) or the newspaper or the like.

For our summer camp site, the venue is a meaningful part of the business. You might even get reviews of your event space.

A subset of this is sponsoring events of venues. This is a great form of link building for SEO because your name is out there not just in link form but also in a positive light – remember those human searchers. Not everyone considers this, but a sponsorship really gets your name out there. We suggest local sporting events, venues, and teams, too. Consider those fans, the players, and even the announcers (if a team is big enough). Think about art shows and Community Theater as more link building websites, although admittedly a sports team is probably more relevant for a summer camp.

Local Library Listings

Does your community have a library? Do they have a community page? We usually don’t consider our libraries, but they often have good authority online. And don’t forget, we are looking at attracting both human and automatic searchers. Even if Google isn’t impressed by your local library, your human searchers may be.

Press Releases to Local Media Outlets

In addition to HARO (Help a Reporter Out), local link building can take the form of sending press releases to your local newspapers, television stations and the like. This can end being just the human interest story an editor in chief needs to round out an issue. And for the local news, they get some filler content to add interest to the last five minutes of a broadcast. Even if your on-air segment ends up on the cutting room floor, can still happen, in the form of a written blog post or article on their site. Given the trustworthiness still afforded to a lot of media outlets, this can be seen as high quality link building, and that means it’s a valuable direction to go in.

Create Useful Things

The sky’s the limit, really; it’s just reined in by your imagination. For our summer camp, strategies can include rating various kinds of equipment. Imagine taking these tactics one step further by adding a badge system. Wouldn’t your favorite equipment manufacturer love to proudly display your seal of approval on their site? Why not include badges in your link building plans?

Images

Because bloggers need images for their own blogs, why not use your own? When others use your images, you can get an attribution link (if they are honest about it).

In addition, you can use your images’ names as for SEO value. How? By intelligently naming your images! Consider how many images there are on the internet that are simply called image1.jpg. A recent Google search turned up almost 12 million (yes, really!) hits for that term! Many people forget about their images. And then when others are searching for a picture of, say, a summer camp in Maine, a title like image1.jpg does not help at all. Instead, consider a far more intelligent name like Maine-Summer-Camp-2017-yourwebsitename.jpg.

Furthermore, be sure to use the alt attribute, the caption, and the description for each image.  This is prime real estate, so don’t squander it! Instead, don’t leave these sections blank! A lot of people don’t take Google Image Search into account.

Another item worth mentioning is to allow hotlinking of your images. Before you cry foul and that its bandwidth theft, hear (read) me out! I am suggesting that you set aside some of your own bandwidth and, as a form of backlink link building, allow others to hotlink your images. You’re not the bandwidth thief at all. In truth, you’re allowing someone else to glom onto your bandwidth. But why would you do that? Isn’t that expensive? Well, it depends. For an exceptionally popular image, then sure, it’s going to cost you.

Infographics

A lot of people love this form of visual data representation. Much like blogging, this is one of those tasks where you need to have some skill. Maybe. Why maybe? It’s because there are sites where you can make infographics. A good infographic can be the gift that keeps on giving.  Once you’ve released your amazing infographic into the wild (maybe it’s about the number of summer campers in Maine, over time, and the data is represented on a bar graph by canoes), do a Google Image search on it regularly. Just add it as a recurring calendar reminder and keep it as a regular part of your strategy. As you find sites using your infographic, reach out to them. Ask, nicely, for a link. Be sure to tell these sites whenever you update your infographic, or create a new one. Build a relationship!

You can also build links by submitting your infographics to infographic directories.

Reciprocation

Trackbacks

Consider the concept of trackbacks. Trackbacks are when one website notifies another about an update. You can see who is linking to your articles, your blog posts, your webpages and the like. If you give trackbacks use dofollow; all you need to do is not make your trackbacks nofollow. Dofollow means a search engine will discover the trackback link (nofollow is the opposite). If you try to get trackbacks, make an effort to get dofollow links, either by checking the site you’re trying to get a link from or asking the blogger or webmaster.  Try for dofollow, as nofollow isn’t as helpful.

Linking Out

Be a sport. Link to others. However, recognize that highly competitive industries might have competitors and this could backfire. Don’t worry, for the most part, as most industries (as in, a good 90% or more) aren’t like this. While you are busy building links, so are others in your community. In our summer camp example, we can include not only a link to other camps, but also to related industries, such as equipment manufacturers and sellers.

Interlink

Why not link within your own site(s), interlinking in your own internet back yard? I am not talking about link farms.  Rather, you have control over your own sites and therefore you can promote some of your best links by using them as cornerstone content. Cornerstone content is when you create what is essentially a strategy link by making it your best authority page. Mix up the anchors, so if you are linking to a post about the best trail mix recipe, make sure to change up the anchor text to trail mix recipe, or best trail mix, etc.

Why not also build a glossary page? For our summer camp, we can explain what gorp is (it’s granola, oatmeal, raisins, and peanuts), the differences in types of backpacks or boots, or the like. This would contain links from our recommended apparel page to the glossary. We could build links from our list of things to pack page to the glossary, or even build a link from the home page.

Paid Tactics

Got a little cash to spare in your budget? Then consider places where you can pay for placement. Recognize that Google doesn’t want you to pay for links. Rather, you can fork over cash in some specific ways.

Paid and Niche Directories

If you can get your business (or good or service) into a niche directory, then do so. And if that means paying, then it’s a great means for SEO because anyone searching these kinds sites knows exactly what they want, and it’s something closely resembling, if not exactly, what you’ve got.

Niche paid directories include sites like BBB (the Better Business Bureau), and Nolo.com and Justia.com for lawyers and law firms. Paying and getting into these kinds of niche directories should be top of your list of tactics if they apply to your business. The BBB has the advantage, also, for imparting cachet and reliability. Angie’s List is like this for contracting companies. Placement in these sorts of directories is also an assurance to your current and future customers that an outside organization says you are dependable or your goods or services are of higher quality, or both.

Buy Domains

The internet is riddled with abandoned sites. Owners die or divorce or they lose interest, or they just can’t afford their sites anymore. Sites like Flippa buy and sell websites, or you can ask your own domain name registrar or the like, or just approach the website owner if you’re looking to purchase more than just a link. If you spot a decently-priced site which has a name related to your own and a good reputation online, why not buy it?

Paid Reviews

If you are selling books, keep in mind that Amazon has cracked down on these recently, so for publishers and independent authors, this is not the best strategy. However, for other businesses on other sites, this can be a great way to build links. Furthermore, all is not lost even if you are a bookseller – just don’t do this on Amazon. But on other sites, such as Kirkus Indie Reviews, it should be on your list of tactics. In order to maintain integrity, never offer reviews of a certain number of stars as a quid pro quo. However, there’s nothing wrong with trading reviews without promising that they be positive, long as you don’t do so on Amazon (you and a friend could be trading one-star reviews on Amazon, and Amazon would still delete the reviews). Establishing relationships with reviewers can be another one of your goto strategies.

Takeaways

I hope this online guide has been helpful to you. The art and science of getting an SEO link is will likely be ever-evolving and always in flux. Got any new ideas or was anything missed? Then be sure to add them to the comments section.