Let’s admit, organic link building can get frustrating and time consuming. We’ve all been through that phase where we try to build inbound links, turning impatient while we wait for the results. Well… we continue because we know it’ll pay off, and how! Organic links are often the result of having good, relevant and accurate content. You get an organic link when your information is considered useful and relevant, not when you have paid for it or participated in a link exchange.
Google’s most visible anti-spam engineer, Matt Cutts, has been releasing a series of short Webmaster Help videos in which he answers queries about search engine optimization and shares information that helps enhance traffic to your site. In this video, he offers a peek into some of the most effective ways of building organic links. If you want, you may choose to skip the video as the points have been summarized below:
It’s a fact – “When you complain, people listen”. Matt admits it’s not his favorite technique, but creating controversy does cook up a storm. This is one of the easiest link baits as it grabs eyeballs. Matt adds that many people choose a company or known person and find faults or pick on them and exaggerate the situation.
For example, E! Online is known for celebrity bashing and gossip which can make or break careers. The site has handled controversial issues like Lindsay Lohan’s hearing and Britney Spears’ fashion disasters. However, you might want to be careful about overdoing it and offer some other useful information as well from time to time. In Matt Cutts’ opinion people could get tired of just reading about controversies after a point. Remember that you want to encourage traffic, not kill it.
2. Participate in the Community
In the video, Matt encourages people to check up forums and online communities where people discuss news and products relevant to the subject. There are subject-specific forums, networks and communities for all kinds of topics from software to art. Matt says you shouldn’t just sign up and spam. Instead, be a genuine part of discussions online. Add some value to the discussion if you have answers to questions mentioned. It doesn’t take much effort to answer queries and people will appreciate your interest.
So, for example, if you have a website selling Blackberry phones , then you could consider participating in sites like the Cranberry forum where you could offer suggestions and answer people’s questions on different Blackberry related topics. People will start looking up to you as an authority figure and could perhaps start linking to your site. This is a very good way to get more traffic and increase sales as well!
3. Original Research
If you dig in even a little bit and show originality in your content, you’ll get a lot more links. Matt says that you can use already available data and make comparisons, get statistics and come out with a whole new angle to it. Offering something new is an important aspect of encouraging incoming links. He gives an interesting example where Danny Sullivan compared how well different web mail services were able to de-spam his inbox. Spam mail is an old topic but what he did was compare how much spam he got and how many mails were mistakenly sent to spam in the different mail services. He got a lot of interesting data which he blogged about and many people linked to him.
Matt also encourages people to get information on what people are talking about in forums and social media and offer something interesting to them. He says the new information will stick in people’s mind.
4. Make Lists
Instead of writing a normal article, Matt encourages people to turn it into a list of ’50 ways to…’. Though Matt mentions in the video that this method is not one of his favorites, it has done wonders for many people. Lists like ‘5 Compelling Reasons To Make Your Site Mobile Friendly’ draws a lot of attention and add value to your site. These lists work because visitors know what to expect and feel it won’t take long to view your content. The only catch being, there are too many of these around, but it’s worth the effort if you’re willing to compete.
5. Get a Blog
Matt explains that a blog is your online business card, your profile or identity to millions who haven’t met you yet. He feels there is absolutely no excuse if your business doesn’t maintain a blog. Post relevant content on a regular basis, you don’t even have to update it every day. The additional information you provide here will convince many more people to read your posts, encouraging them to link to you. Matt recommends that you establish yourself as an authority and encourage readers to interact with you.
6. How-To’s and Tutorials
Matt points out that people are always looking up information on how to do things. You can include tutorials in your site by giving a step by step explanation of basic activities in your daily life, like fixing a tap. Matt mentions that your post needn’t even be related to the topic your site deals with, because it’s not just about links, but providing resources that nobody else has. For example, if you own a dance studio, a funny tutorial about how to do the moonwalk can get you many links. You could make a lot of videos in topics which you are an expert in. After a point of time, people will start seeing you as an authority figure on that topic. Matt goes on to say that even if you don’t build many links this way, the long tail keyword will help people to find you and even two or three links are good enough for such content.
7. Offer Useful Products or Services
We love free stuff. Free products and services have always attracted people. Matt says it works when you offer useful services or even release a free product. There are people looking for services like advertising their homes for free, and products like WordPress Plug-ins, or an extension for Chrome or Firefox as it makes their lives simpler. Matt explains further that when people feel they get something for free, they may link to you and recommend it to their friends and colleagues.
8. Make Videos
Making videos can be a super-fun project for you, and your viewers will enjoy it as much as you did. If you make a funny video about something related to your website, it may spread like wildfire on the internet.
If your website is about pet care, you can include funny videos of animals, or even give advice on how to take care of different kinds of pets. Matt explains that by making videos, you connect personally with viewers. Moreover, you have to do the work only once and you can enjoy the results for years to come.
Getting inbound links is not the easiest of tasks, but I’m sure this video has certainly helped point you in the right direction. The best part about these tips is that you don’t even have to spend a penny to implement them, its simply genius! Now, link building isn’t as confusing or annoying as it was a few minutes ago, is it! If you have any tips or suggestions that you would like to share, do feel free to use the Comments section.