We all know the vital role of backlinks in search engine visibility. Many companies devote an entire department to link promotion. Therefore, I want to provide some important tips for training link developers in this week's column. Many of these tips can be implemented on an individual or group basis. They can also be useful for companies in the preliminary stages of starting a link promotion department.
Tips for Link Development
The tips below range from encouraging creativity to teaching negotiation tactics for overcoming obstacles when dealing with webmasters.
- Promote Creativity
Encourage creativeness and thinking outside the box. This is probably one of the best qualities to promote during link training. There are many different angles and methodologies to successful link building. Don't constrain people to using the same techniques that have been used and overused over the last few years.
This is especially true if you work in competitive industries and your competition is active in link building. Your site needs better links than theirs. Instead of training your staff on the specific steps they must follow as if they worked for a fast-food chain, empower them to find creative solutions. The end results are better links and happier employers. It also helps to hire people who are creative and innovative.
- Conduct Brainstorming Sessions
Once a week, perhaps even once a day, get together, if only for 15 minutes, to brainstorm new ideas and different ways to get better links. Encourage people to contribute their ideas no matter how off-the-wall or impossible they may seem. Encourage randomness. Often in these brainstorming sessions, new ideas will stem from someone else's idea. It is all about the group interaction and collective thinking. Plus, it helps to keep people motivated and builds a better group dynamic at your company.
- Group Review and Strategy Meetings
Once a week, perhaps even once a day, have your team get together to discuss how they are going about link development. Find out what is working and what is not. If someone is having more success than the others, have that person lead the discussion to guide the others in the right direction. Find out this person's approach. Find out what he or she is doing to get better results.
- Negotiation and Sales Training
Provide books, CDs, videos, and articles on negotiation and sales training. Unless your staff comes from a sales background, this is essential. Your link developers need to be able to sell your site, overcome obstacles, and then finally secure the link. This is an excellent topic for the group meetings -- to find out how people have overcome specific obstacles. Find out the tactics or approaches used that are getting the best results. It would also be helpful to have one of your sales or marketing people participate to give advice and guidance.
- Experiment, Experiment, Experiment
Allow time each week to test out new ways to get links. Such tests could range from different methods for contacting Web sites to viral marketing techniques. This is the best way to find out what works and what doesn't. Even if some of the methods are unsuccessful, there are still lessons to be learned that can be applied to other areas.
- Teach Link Value
Educate your staff on the real value of links. Show them examples of how sites have risen in the rankings after getting a couple dozen trusted links. Run experiments to show them how a link from a trusted site can influence rankings. By being educated, they will gain a much better understanding of the power of links. It will also give more meaning to their work when they can see the final results.
- Study Competitive Industries
Allow time for your staff to study the way sites in hyper-competitive industries are handling their link development. True, some of the more aggressive techniques used must be avoided. At the same time, there is always something to be learned. It will also help your staff identify sites that are more advanced in their link development methods. Why reinvent the wheel when you can learn from others?
As you can see, these link training tips are easy to implement individually or as a group. Many can be combined into a weekly meeting, such as the brainstorming, link value, and negotiation training sessions. Since training link developers is essential to many companies, I will revisit this topic again soon.
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!