As an online marketer you might have heard about "viral marketing" and "link building." But do you know what "viral link building" is? Viral link building is way of acquiring links by using a message that is self-replicating.
Links to your website are an important indicator for many search engines about a website's importance. However, acquiring links can be a tedious task that can cost a lot of time and money.
Requesting each individual link isn't always the most effective acquisition strategy. If your website needs a huge boost in links on a specific topic, viral link building might be the solution you're looking for.
So What is Viral Link Building?
A normal viral spreads by word of mouth or through a medium like the Internet. It involves a message so special that it needs to be spread throughout someone's social circle. People receiving the message become spreaders themselves because it asserts their position as trendsetter within their own networks.
Viral spreaders will use phrases like "you'll never believe it" or "you have to see this." If the unbelievable fact is situated or supported somewhere on the Internet, people will direct their followers at that location. If the message is spread through the Internet they will probably direct them with a link. Initiating a message that makes people link to a specific web page in this manner is called viral link building.
When Should You Use Viral Link Building?
Viral link building can get thousands of links to a web page within a couple of hours. You might think this provides an incredible opportunity, but it's also the biggest drawback.
Search engines take the speed of link growth into account. A quick growth indicates unnatural behavior or "newsworthiness." In most cases, this means a top position in Google, for instance, will quickly be attained. The full effect isn't likely to last, however.
Viral messages, including links, could end up on news sites, social media platforms, and blogs. If you need links from corporate sites, web shops, or link directories, viral link building probably isn't the best strategy for you.
It isn't possible to have full control over a viral. Every spreader can cause additional mutation on a viral message, so caution should be taken when it comes to possible brand damage. Sometimes it's better to avoid association with your commercial website until the link value is needed.
An Example to Feed Your Own Creativity
A clarifying example for viral link building is almost four years old. Just a week before the World Cup soccer started, our team was asked to get a new site ranking for the term "wk" (which stands for World Cup in Dutch). Normally, ranking with a new site within this timeframe is impossible, but when a search term becomes newsworthy (i.e., because many websites start using it far more often than usual) a huge spike in link growth becomes a good thing.
So we created a group of women against the world cup. They were against it because men neglected them during this period and only had eyes for television and beer. A football match replaced "Sex & The City" and fashion went down the drain with everybody wearing orange soccer shirts and other dreadful clothing.
We hired a group of students and sent them protesting at the national league training camp. All the media that ranked top 10 for "wk" in Google.nl were present and reported on this crazy group with a link to their protest website. Within a day the site ranked number one with the customer's website just in its wake.
We had achieved our goal, but we got something extra a few days later. Reuters picked up the story and translated it into English, German, Spanish, and many more languages. Once newspapers in South America picked it up, every football lover in the world was talking about those crazy Dutch women and linking to them and their sister groups across the world (which we created to monetize on the international traffic).
Some Final Viral Tips
- Influential people within specific communities can be easily found through platforms like Twitter. Learn how to use social media for the initial launch of an online viral.
- Link value can be redistributed. Your website doesn't need to receive any direct attention. Just like Stop the World Cup, where the commercial website came in second.
- Consecutive virals show that your website isn't a one day fly and combined have a much longer lasting effect. If your commercial website is fed with link value from multiple sites, it's likely to outrank the individual viral sites.
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!