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What’s the easy way to attract links?

Everyone knows that links are a critical part of any organic search marketing campaign. It’s not possible for your pages to rank highly for competitive keywords without amassing many high-quality links. But it’s so much work, isn’t it? Are there any easy ways to build the links you need?


Well, let’s look at some of the easy ways to get links.
Link swapping has been around for years. You link to my site and I will link to yours. It sounds like a great idea, and it does seem easy. The problem is that it doesn’t work very well anymore—the search engines can tell when links are reciprocal, so they don’t give them so much credit.
The newest easy way to success is paid links. Find the sites you want to link to you and offer up enough cash so they do so. Does it work? Sometimes. Undoubtedly the search engines can’t detect every paid link, although they can catch some of them. When a number of high-quality links pop-up to a relatively unknown site, Google can connect those dots. But paid links can work to raise search rankings if they seem to be plausible.
But I am a big fan of doing it the hard way. Instead of trading links or paying for links, why not create compelling content—pages so good that other sites just have to link to them?
What are the advantages of doing things the hard way?
First, it’s a lot cheaper. You can imagine that, for competitive queries, sites end up bidding against each other for those high-quality links that make a difference in search rankings. To really get the benefit, the linking sites can’t have too many links (because the search engines devalue links that are one of dozens on a page). Having only a few sites with just a few links from each site make those links precious—and expensive.
Besides the cost, why else would you want to do the extra work of attracting links? Because links you get the old-fashioned way are permanent. Paid links disappear as soon as you stop paying.
So how hard is linkbaiting? For some people, it’s not easy. Not everyone thinks of himself as a good writer. But maybe that’s not the way to think about what you have to do. Instead of expecting yourself to be a great writer, just tell stories.
Every business has stories. The story about why your product works better than the rest. Or how it solved a particularly thorny problem once. Or why your best customer loves it so. The same way that you write stories using the right keyword so that search engines find your pages. If you do it right, the best search landing pages are also the bext link bait.
Instead of resorting to tricky content techniques and paid links, maybe it’s actually easier in the long run to create the right stories with the right keywords that attract attention—and links. And, by the way, those stories are far more likely to convert your searchers to customers because they are designed to appeal to people first and search engines second.
Maybe building your content really is the easy way to attract links.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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