There's no doubt link building is a win-win. The only way to acquire relevant and meaningful links is to provide some value to the Internet community.
The value may come in the form of information and entertainment. Visitors may find value in unique positioning that makes a Web site stand out from the crowd.
The longer I ponder the world of link building, the more I love it. It's the ultimate social approval process. To attract attention, you must resonate with an online community.
The question is not, "How do I get links?" The right question is, "How do I become interesting and valuable to an online community?" or, "How do I differentiate myself in a sea of sameness?"
One Idea In Action
Social and ecological sustainability, or long-lasting, low-impact business ecosystems, will be a major factor for successful growth in the next 50 years. People are realizing resources aren't endless, and they have options -- where they work and who they buy from, for example.
While clearly a challenge, it's also a great opportunity for the global business community to align business values with online communities. The opportunity to stand out and resonate with key demographics may be the best-kept secret of link building.
Which companies have found the secret of sustainability and link building? Here are a few great examples.
AISO.net: A Natural Internet Success
Check out AISO.net: Affordable Internet Services Online Inc. Their tag line is: "Web Hosting As Nature Intended." They're touting an environmentally-friendly way to host Web sites.
Server farms are notorious for sucking down extreme amounts of energy. Here's what the company has to say about protecting the environment:
"AISO.net is a reliable and responsible green Web hosting company. We have made a strong commitment to help fight pollution and preserving our natural resources. Solar panels run our data center and office, not energy credits. Solar tubes bring in natural light from the outside providing light during the day. AMD Opteron powered servers use 60 percent less energy and generate 50 percent less heat."
AISO.net has taken an otherwise extremely saturated industry and instantly changed the conversation. Hosting has always been about speed, reliability, and cost. These folks have stood out in a highly creative way that adds value to the entire Web community.
Plus, they have a Google PageRank of 6/10 and 4,821 links according to Yahoo. Many of the links and clients come from companies that want to be associated with a socially responsible company. Plus, AISO.net attracts the interest of journalists from great sites such as PC World and Wired.
Crown Jewels: Brilliant Earth
Jewelry is another intensely competitive arena. Brilliant Earth has come up with a way to stand out from the crowd. Their motto is: "Conflict Free Canadian Diamond Jewelry." They promote "Fine Jewelry from Ethical Sources."
They have a Google PageRank of 5/10 and 721 links according to Yahoo. Not bad for a domain purchased in April 2005.
If you were troubled by the bloodshed of the mainstream diamond trade, wouldn't you rather do business with Brilliant Earth?
Clorox and Burt's Bees
Nobody's saying bleach is the bee's knees. Yet, Clorox just bought Burt's Bees for $925 million in cash. "[Clorox” says it's looking to green its image and plans to acquire companies aligned with consumer 'megatrends' in health and wellness, sustainability, convenience and a more multicultural marketplace."
From the Clorox values page: "Helping Ensure The Greater Good for All - To us, achieving The Greater Good means creating a world where people have the information and tools they need to make the highest ethical choices and do the best for themselves, their family and the environment."
A nice-sized company like Burt's Bees ought to have a considerable number of links. The company does: 7,879 according to Yahoo.
This is why I love link building. If you want to succeed, you simply must love and care for something. When you do, others who love and care for the same thing will happily share recognition with you by giving you a link.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!