Get Over Yourself And Give Me A Link (please)

Getting a topically relevant link is preferable to one from an off topic webpage but  it’s not always so easy, competitors seldom link to competitors, authority sites seldom link to newbies.

I had some luck getting these hard/competitive/authority type links awhile back, the campaign brought in a large number of on-topic, quality links from competitors in a specific industry.

What’s more interesting is the fact the campaign did not use:

Social media. (No Twitter, Digg, Facebook, Reddit etc.)
Didn’t use any directories .
No article writing/rewriting was done.
No guest blog posting.
No reciprocal links used.
No blog commenting.
No dropping links in forums.
No press releases.
No contests were launched.
No interviews/white papers/ebooks were waved around.
No utility linking (search: “submit site” + keyword) was done.
No buying old domains/redirection took place.
No paid links.

The whole program ran 90 days and netted 131 quality, on-topic links from established sites.   And best of all, it didn’t cost a lot of money to execute! :).

Before you roll your eyes and click away thinking this is going to be one of those “establish relationships and the links will come ” type posts, hear me out.  Granted, there is a bit of “touchy feely” involved but it’s more about understanding what people care about than spewing regurgitated crap that doesn’t work.  Take a look at what I’ve done and see if you can twist it to work for you.

Incentive linking

The client I ran this campaign for is in the concrete business, his site has been online for a several years, was optimized and ranked in the high teens.   Concrete isn’t exactly a sexy topic, it generates little interest outside it’s industry and isn’t in mainstream media unless someone is found buried in it.

My client wanted to increase his visibility in the concrete community but also increase his rankings substantially since he had just invested major money in creating a new department focused on re/paving homeowners driveways.  I knew I had a challenge, concrete providers are fiercely competitive and filled with men named Bubba who don’t give a damn about participating in social media, blogging or link building.

Since I understand what does/n’t motivate Bubba, I decided not to waste time and energy trying to think up cutesy infographics or writing top ten articles.  Instead, I focused on trying to find what motivated concrete operators and the issues they were concerned about.   I stumbled across an article from a building association talking about the reduction in association membership levels, companies were not renewing as a way to cut costs.  Knowing this and seeing a need for free information, I convinced my client to build a resource center anyone could access free of charge and fill it with information they had been paying for previously.  Once complete, we would promote the resource center and use it as a way to attract links.

Initially we thought the resource center  would be 10 – 15 pages deep but in the end there were almost 100 pages of content added.  Once we started looking, reading and asking people what they wanted to see, it grew like crazy!  While we were researching content, I found several articles talking about the heavy toll wet concrete takes on workers shoes and uniforms and how this issue costs companies a lot of money.  A light went off and armed with this information, I developed a simple incentive program as a way to promote the resource center and get companies to link or host our link embedded content.   The offer was simple:

Reprint our content or link to our resource center and we’ll send each of your
employees a free tee-shirt.

The promotion was a hit!  We gave away hundreds of shirts and got a ton of publicity.   The t-shirts had funny generic sayings on them which eliminated the objection of wearing a competitors logo. I sent personalized emails to concrete companies and companies in a couple of complementary niches plus ran ads in trade magazines.  After three months, we closed the promotion and counted 131 one-way inbound links from relevant, on-topic pages.

The link building methods I listed above  still work and produce results, but sometimes we get so involved in keeping up with the latest social media this or linking that we forget the simple, non-technical stuff works. If you’re in an industry that doesn’t engage in social media, or tends to be self-focused like concrete, look at creatively overcoming objections as a way to build links.  It works!