Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a very involved process including proper content creation which is relevant to search terms and proper use of key terms and key phrases within the content titles and body, page links, meta tags, etc. The sister of SEO is Search Engine Marketing (SEM). A lot of work goes into these processes in order to gain top rankings on search engine result pages (SERPs) and ultimately gain more visits and conversions. It is an ever changing and re-evaluation process to maintain the top position on (SERPs) as consumers use different terms in search, as competitors change their sites, as consumer search trends change, and as search engines change their algorithms. An important piece to any SEO strategy involves attaining links back to your site. If these back links are from sites related in content to your site, this of course increases the popularity and credibility of your site as judged by the search engines, thus increasing your quality score and rankings on SERPs.
So here are some things to think about in attracting backlinks:
1. Link bait. Create “linkable” content that others will be happy to link to. Like Seth Godin’s book, the Purple Cow, create something that is remarkable, that people want to share and talk about. A boring online brochure most likely won’t attract many links without outside assistance. However, helpful how-to articles, original research, resources such as useful lists, and cool online tools such as spypig.com which is a site that tracks email marketing is something that adds value.
2. Interactive PR. Content is King! Writing compelling press releases with terms linked back to appropriate pages on your site is a good way to attract readers. Create a social media release through PitchEngine. Distribute your releases through online press release services to increase your exposure. Consider both free press release services and fee-based PR distribution sites.
3. Articles. Create your own external links to your site by writing helpful industry-related articles and linking these back to your site. Submit your articles to high-quality article directories.
The next four tactics involve generating links through blogs, in order from the easiest but lowest value to the most challenging but rewarding techniques.
4. Blog comments. Post comments on industry-related blogs. Make sure you comments are relevant to the post, add value (i.e. they aren’t just about your company), and include no more than two links back to your site. One is better. This works well with company or industry blogs as well. This can be very time consuming as well.
5. Blogger outreach. Take the direct route—send notes to carefully selected bloggers pointing them to original research, compelling content, a useful tool or (truly) interesting news. Use proper blogger relations techniques, and avoid these worst practices in blogger outreach.
6. Blogger relationships. Since bloggers who know you are more likely to link to you, try to establish relationships with some key bloggers in your industry space. Subscribe to their RSS feeds, follow them on Twitter, tweet their posts on occasion, write comments (see above), ask for advice, and, if possible, try to connect live at conferences where they are presenting or attending. This goes with networking practices. Make some face to face connections when possible to strengthen and grow the professional relationship.
7. Guest posts. Most powerful of all, once you’ve established a relationship with an influential blogger, offer to write a guest post. Make sure it offers valuable information; is not self-promotional; and appeals to the blog’s readers. It’s generally acceptable to include 2-3 links back to your own site between the post and the “about the author,” but don’t overdo it, and ideally the post should link to other information sources as well. An even better way to this is to ask them to be a guest blogger on your site.
These are by no means quick or easy. It takes a great deal of patience and persistence, just like the rest of the SEO campaign. It’s never ending and constantly evolving.