Editor's note: As 2010 winds down, we're celebrating the Best of 2010, our top 10 most popular columns of the year on Search Engine Watch, as determined by our readers. Every day over the next two weeks, we'll repost the most popular columns of the year, starting at No. 10 and counting down to No. 1 on Dec. 31. Our countdown continues today with our No. 8 column, which originally was published on March 11. Enjoy!
Here's a 30-minute-a-day link building program any Web site can put into action. Repeating this four-day process every week will help develop a variety of quality links to your site.
Day 1: Get Published on Other Web Sites
Spend 30 minutes once a week finding quality sites you want to contribute to, such as blogs, hobbyist, and industry sites. Then do keyword research to decide on a good topic. Hire a writer and editor for the content creation. You can learn more about this streamlined link building strategy in my last post.
- Study the types of content sites are currently linking out to. Then create something similar.
- Once you've developed a solid reputation on those sites, others in the community will start to reference your site for you.
- Pay close attention to the questions and problems people pose. Often you can develop linkable resources based off that information.
The following week, spend 30 minutes submitting the content to the selected sites.
Day 2: Niche, Non-Profit, and Government Directories
Directories aren't just standalone sites – at least not by my definition. They could be a directory section of a non-profit, education, government, or industry site. Directories on authority sites can cost from around $200 to more than $1,000 a year.
Want the link for free? Give these sites a reason to link to your site.
Ask yourself, "What makes my site stand out from everyone else?" Maybe it has an active discussion forum or online tools. Create a linkable resource if you don't already have one. Study the types of content they're linking out to. Then create something similar. There's no need to reinvent the wheel.
Local and niche directories still work – no matter what some say. Focus your time on finding those gems that haven't been exploited yet. Look for hobbyist sites where people are passionate about a topic. Expect to pay anywhere from $20 to around $200 for the better ones.
Day 3: Get Involved in Online Communities
Spend 30 minutes actively contributing to online communities in your field. These include discussion forums, blogs, and other social media. Focus on one or two that can bring you the most exposure to your customers and industry.
Answer questions. Give advice. Provide solutions.
It's all about exposure. You might attract the attention of a blogger or reporter who will cite your Web site. They may call for an interview. Once you've developed a solid reputation on those sites, others in the community will start to reference your site for you.
Want better results? Do this for 30 minutes every day.
Day 4: Make Your Site Linkable
We've discussed having something on your site that will make people want to link to your site. That can be a challenge for many sites, especially e-commerce. An effective approach here is to offer a solution to a problem.
You're already spending at least 30 minutes a week getting involved in online communities. Pay close attention to the questions and problems people pose. Often you can develop linkable resources based off that information. The resource you create could be such things as an iPhone application, widgets, tools, articles, and the list goes on. Keep an open mind.
Work on adding linkable resources to your site every week. One idea may produce great links, though others may not.
You can successfully build links to any type of Web site in just 30 minutes a day. Just approach it with an open mind so you don't look over golden opportunities. Remember, good link building is just good marketing.