Link marketing can be expensive -- especially in competitive fields. Let's look at how a business with a small budget can accomplish the task, and get good rankings.
Donate Services for Publicity
- Donate a service. Make sure local media, the mayor's office, and community groups know about it.
- Write for a Web site. You'll gain exposure for your company and become an expert in your field.
- Ask customers to recommend your business online, whether it's on a blog, Web site, or social media.
Any business can employ this public relations strategy. It's all about donating your services to help nonprofits and community organizations.
Let's say your business is a day spa. Arrange for one of your massage therapist to visit a 911 call center to provide free massages once a week for a month. Then contact local media outlets, the mayor's office, community groups, and others.
Let as many people who could spread the word know about this. Your company will end up with great links, and a great deal of public exposure.
Why once a week for a month? Because you aren't a public relations firm, this allows time each week to reach out and make new contacts in the community. It also allows more opportunities to arrange photos, and video clips with the media.
Become a Columnist, or Guest Writer
Offering expert advice to a cash-strapped business is a great way to gain exposure and develop links at the same time. All it takes is your time and knowledge on a subject.
Find Web sites that have mentioned your company, but didn't link to your site. Often an e-mail can get that link. It's also a way to build relationships.
Maybe a blogger mentioned you as one of several companies. Now you can invite them to do an interview, write a company profile, or get insider access.
This also presents a great opportunity to inquire about being a guest writer. If it generates good traffic, it might be worth becoming a regular contributor!
Ask Clients for Online Recommendations
Are you asking your best customers to recommend you on their blog, social media, and Web site? If not, start. You never know what sites your clients are involved with.
This might even lead to a review in a major magazine, newspaper, or Web site. This will also increase the word-of-mouth marketing of your business.
Make sure you're linked from any business group or organization you belong to. Look at all those membership dues being paid, and get your money's worth. These could range from the Chamber of Commerce to a woman's business owners group of XYZ city.
If they don't have a membership directory, ask if there is any place on the site they could list you. Simple questions like that lead to link marketing success.
Another strategy: talk to people about links at member meetings. Everyone needs links to their business. It's all about networking and reaching out.
Local and Niche Directories
Some people say directories don't carry any weight, but you shouldn't dismiss all directory links. I'm not talking about those "made for SEO and AdSense" directories. I'm talking about the ones run by people passionate about a specific topic, or geographical area. Of course, finding those directories can be difficult and tedious work.
These are just a few ways to build links, and market your company online, with a limited budget. This is time consuming and requires a lot of work.
With due diligence, your rankings and sales will increase. Then you can hire an internal person, or an outside company, to handle your link marketing.
Justilien Gaspard is off this week. Today's column ran earlier on Search Engine Watch.