A couple weeks ago, I wrote 7 Tips for Training Link Developers. This week, I will continue the training theme with a focus on Web site marketing techniques your new link builder can employ. Or shall I say, your new marketer. After all, a good link developer is a good marketer.
By approaching link building as a marketing campaign, you gain exposure and traffic while acquiring links. Not to mention those new links tend to be more powerful and of longer-lasting value than other short-term link building techniques. These links will drive traffic and exposure, thereby paying for themselves. Then, the link popularity is just an additional benefit.
Train your link developer to find influential people in the media, and then contact them on a regular basis. These contacts can range from journalists in newspapers to trade journals or television. This will be extremely useful when you launch a new piece of linkbait or a press release, as well as when the journalist is looking for expert opinion from your industry. The idea is to establish and build the relationship before hand. This will ensure a better response when help is needed.
We all know the power of popular bloggers for all the traffic and links they can send. Have your people start engaging these bloggers. Treat it as a stealth marketing campaign to win influence. Your people are competing with many others trying to gain the attention of the bloggers. Go about it in an indirect way for more fruitful and lasting results.
Get your marketer involved in all aspects of the industry community from forums to blogs to discussion lists. Don't forget offline business group meetings. Yes, I am suggesting they attend real life business conferences, chamber of commerce meetings, industry association meetings, etc. As they get more engaged in the community, previously unseen link opportunities will be revealed. Plus, it is much easier to get a link or a mention from someone they have been interacting with all along. People help people they already know.
As your marketer is getting involved in the community, he or she will discover many opportunities to buy advertising space that will drive traffic and link value. Just remember, Google does not support buying advertising space that passes link value, even though the advertising space may have been purchased in the form of links before Google came into being. Notice Google's main advertising products, AdWords/AdSense, are displayed as "text links." Links are also a large part of its ranking algothrim. Links are powerful on so many levels. My advice is to focus on advertising space for links that drive quality traffic.
These directories are often overlooked; yet, they can drive nice targeted traffic plus get some link value. Find the ones that are ranking high for the keywords you are targeting. Then find the ones other Web sites and industry personnel are often referencing. Once your Web site is listed, inspect the directories that are sending the most quality traffic. Then, explore whether or not you can gain more traffic by being listed in other categories or by sponsoring the pages in your section. If the directory is small and focused, it might be worth sponsoring the whole site. An example of this might be if you sold commercial coffee equipment and sponsored a small coffee directory focused on coffee start-ups. If it were a larger or newer directory, I would avoid sponsoring the entire site. That might be looked upon as aggressive linking to search engines.
Create Content, aka Linkbait
Train your marketer to create various forms of content ranging from articles to video to research that can be used to attract attention and links. Have them study what is currently attracting links in your industry. After all, what attracts links in the financial industry may not fare so well in the travel industry. Now, your marketers can put the relationships they developed with the media, bloggers, and community to use in promoting this content.
These are just a few methods to train your new marketer, aka link builder, in order to draw more exposure and links to your site. Keep them focused on driving traffic and exposure; the links will develop at the same time.
It is also quite apparent that all these methods could easily be implemented by your current marketing department. In fact, they are probably doing many of these things already. Now, they just need to be trained on the value of links and how to incorporate it into their current marketing techniques.
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!