Link building is often boring, time-consuming, and can be expensive.
Not only that, but your website is usually ripe with low-hanging link fruit that you should be picking before you run around contacting every blogger who makes the mistake of offering up a bit of contact information.
BUT that doesn’t mean you get out of it entirely.
Unfortunately, link building is one of these eat-your-veggies sort of search marketing activities: healthy but annoying.
Luckily, there are ways of outsourcing your link building that don’t cost a dime.
Outsourcing Link Building: Free of Charge
Let everyone else in the company do it for you!
Getting Free Links The Easy Way
So how does this work?
It’s really very straight forward: when you embark on a link building campaign: ask everyone you work with for help.
Regardless of the size of your company, the people you work with are on the internet. They have control of Web pages (social networking profiles, personal blogs, and more). They’re satisfied with you, the things your company is doing, and your job (if not you have bigger problems than generating links to your site).
At the same time, it’s in their best interest that your company website succeed:
- Increased organic search rankings mean more traffic.
- More traffic means more revenue.
- And more revenue leads to the potential for expansion, bonuses, prestige, etc.
The best to get this mutually beneficial ball rolling is simply to ask for help. Create a quick “kit” that explains what you’re requesting of your employees or co-workers, and outline the ways they can go about helping you out. This letter should include a number of different components.
Section One: Full Disclosure
First, you need to do two things:
- Let them know what you want – Be clear about what you’re asking. Don’t beat around the bush, and don’t confuse them as to what you’re after: come right out and say “we’d like you to link to the ABC corp. site”.
- Let them know why you want it – Incentivizing links is always a good idea: explain to your company why these links will be valuable, and how they’ll help both your business, and the people doing the linking.
Additionally, be sure to highlight the fact that misunderstandings are OK, and that questions are encouraged. Offer contact information of the most SEO-savvy individuals who are responsible for building links to your site so that he/she/they can answer any questions potential linkers may have.
Section Two: Where to Link From
In this section of the correspondence, explain what sorts of web content makes sense for them to be linking from; some of your employees may have personal blogs or a forum profile that they never even considered linking at your site with.
Section Three: Vendors & Testimonials
A great way to pick up some links is to reach out to businesses you work with and services you use. Your business uses any number of tools and services every day, and chances are you’re happy with many of them. You (and more specifically, the people who work with them on a day to day basis) can offer up a testimonial. This is good for them, since they get to build credibility and let the world know that they work with your wonderful company, and it’s good for you, as you’re (hopefully) getting a link back to your site along with the testimonial.
Section Four: The How
Finally, you want to show them how and where to link.
Everyone in your company doesn’t need to be an SEO expert, but they need to be made aware of two key factors:
- Anchor Text is Important – The keywords people use to talk about your site help influence organic search rankings. You need your employees to help the search engines determine what you (and hopefully they) think the site is about. Be sure to explain the importance of anchor text.
- So is Varying That Anchor Text – You don’t want your anchor text to look like it was created by a robot; explain to your employees that they should alter the text they use to link to your site.
- Deep Linking – The message here should be: if you only get one link, make it the home page. But, if you can put together a paragraph or even a whole page, be sure to link to some of the site’s deeper content. Which content? Basically, keyword rich content that’s the next step down in a logical, keyword-driven information architecture.
Still Need Help?
We’ve created a Link Building Kit template that can get you started. It offers a great deal of depth in each of the above sections. In fact, it’s too long and detailed. Consider the following as you determine which bits and pieces to use on your own site:
- Your Goals – What are you trying to accomplish with this Email? Why?
- Who’s Getting the Email – Are you asking a large company to help you build links? Are you shooting this off to a small team of dedicated employees? How much is your staff likely to read? How much do the Email recipients know about search?
You need to know what you’re asking and who you’re asking it of. This will lead allow you to craft the most relevant request, at the perfect length, with enough (but not too much) information about linking to your site.
Start Reaping the Benefits
That’s it. You’ve effectively built at least a couple (and maybe more) free links to your site, just by sending out an email.
Now that you’ve taken a few minutes out of your day to build these free links, go do something with the link equity:
- Create Some Content - Discover which keywords you should be ranking for and put together a series of content pieces that target them.
- Optimize Your Internal Link Structure – Ensure your site’s internal link structure is properly positioned to take full advantage of the additional juice you’ve now accumulated.
This way, you’re not just storing up page rank: you’re turning it into traffic and conversions.