Since the end of last year, there have been tons of updates and algorithm changes (mainly from Google). To many SEOs (whether in-house or agency), it seems these days there is pretty much nothing you can do for your clients or your own sites, especially the linkbuilding part. Uh… NOT TRUE! Don’t listen to those who tell you, “the more links you build; the more rankings your site will drop.” Backlinks are still one of the most important ranking factors, PERIOD! It all rests upon how you build them and how you mimic the natural link patterns.
Today I will spend some time discussing what still works in the current SEO climate. I will also highlight tactics you might want to refrain from practicing – at least for the next few months.
Tactics that still work:
Building Web 2.0 sites – There is nothing wrong with those free blog platforms with strong root domains and different c-class IP addresses. It’s you that treat them like free article directories and spam them like they owe you #1 ranking for the key phrase, “Cheap Wedding Dresses”; it’s you that leave footprints everywhere for search engines to catch and penalize your websites for your laziness. Run those supporting sites like you own them and actually create value to those networks and visitors, which eventually direct relevant and convertible traffic to your money sites!
Quality Forum Posts – Forums or industrial communities are great places to find new trends about your business. Think about using them as research tools first and then getting SEO value from them second.
Guest Blogging on Relevant Websites – It could be very time-consuming so personally I only do this when I come across a really high quality site and I always try to get the most out of it (ex. Any other promotion opportunities, email blasts, banners etc.).
Manual Blog Comments on Moderated Websites – Few things to keep in mind: Do them manually; and do them on quality and moderated websites. Some people might tell you to only comment on DOFOLLOW sites but I’ll take NOFOLLOW as well, not because of how much “Juice” you will get but because how natural your link profile will be.
Natural Link Exchanges or Link Partnerships – Having a small portion of reciprocal links won’t hurt you. In fact, it’s a great way to expand your link profile and build up online relationship with the owners of other websites.
Bookmarking – Yes, bookmarking. If you disagree with this point, maybe you never really know how to leverage bookmarking sites to create SEO value to your websites.
Social Media as a Research, Customer Service and Linkbuilding Tool – Nobody was born to be a social media expert (at least I am not). The key is not how many new tricks you know about those popular social sites or how many cool and fancy features you apply to your Facebook page or Google+ profile. It’s all about showing your customers that YOU CARE! Get in there! If social media are tools your customers use to share their stories and find answers to their problems, you have to be there for them. No idea how to start? Take a look at what your competitors are doing to see if there is anything you can do the same? Take a look what those big companies are doing and apply things that are relevant to your business. The key here is to get started! And remember whenever you have problems making things work, Google is always your best friend!
Contest and Product Giveaways – Do this with social media strategy in mind. Always think about how your contest or giveaway info will be shared and linked. And build your campaign around them. The idea is that you don’t want to give a product away for just a link; you want to give away a product and get back tons of links and discussions.
Reach out to influencers and help them to promote their websites – Browse their sites from top to bottom. Know more about their websites than they do. Come up with cross promotion ideas that benefit both of you. Find technical issues and give them step by step guidance on how to fix them; Make them an offer that they simply can’t refuse, so you will get what you want!
Create Glossary Section for the Low Hanging Fruits – Creating a glossary section is probably the easiest content creation you can do and believe me you will get much more relevant traffic than you can imagine. And another big plus about having a glossary is to show your visitors that you know the industry and you understand and care about the community.
Private Link Networks – it’s totally not something Google likes so I am not going to get into any the details but it works ☺
File Sharing Sites – Like social media, there is nothing fancy here. Just be there and take advantage of either video sharing sites or file sharing sites to increase your reach and expand your link profiles.
Buy Links from Sites that Normally Don’t Sell Links – If you can buy a link from New York Times, buy it!
In fact lots of “old school” linkbuilding strategies still wok. For example, Wiki sites, local directories, Q&A sites, link baits, third party rating or review sites, press releases etc. The only problem is they all require more manual work than they use to. As the result you will very likely need to invest more money and time. Spending $5 and 30 minutes a day and expecting to rank #1 in Google for “4 Slice Toaster” is simply not possible any more. Feel free to let me know if you have any questions. Good luck and happy optimizing!