Attracting high-quality editorial links is the Holy Grail of search engine optimization, but too often companies and individuals overlook one of the easiest ways of attracting them - asking.
There are plenty of great ways you can pitch content ideas that might get you a link - guest posting and infographics, to name just two - but there are also loads of sites out there that will be willing to link because they're already talking about you.
Unfortunately, this isn't a tactic for absolute beginners, but if either you or your brand has built up a noticeable online presence then this is something you'll be able to do.
How It Works
The basic principle behind this method of building links is that there are websites out there that will be mentioning you, but not linking. The trick is to find these sites and get them to include a link back to you.
In order to do this, you'll need a couple of tools at your disposal, including:
- A site analysis tool such as Open Site Explorer - this will allow you to judge whether it's worth your while getting a link for any given site.
- A tool to monitor your outreach efforts - an Excel spreadsheet works just fine for this, but something like Buzzstream is even better.
Finding Sites to Approach
There are a couple of ways to find sites to approach for this kind of link building, and the first of these should hopefully allow you to track down a steady stream of prospects. First, draw up a list of all terms related to your brand - that includes company names, product names and even the names of high-profile individuals within the company.
Next, you're going to need to set up alerts to tell you whenever a website mentions one of these terms. You can do this easily with Google Alerts. Alternatively, you can use Moz Analytics. This is a paid tool, but it does have the advantage of allowing you to exclude results that are already linking back to your website.
Once you've set up your preferred method of alerts, you just need to sit back and wait for the mentions to come rolling in. When that happens, simply check the quality of the site using your preferred tool and, if appropriate, get in touch and ask for a link.
Your request doesn't have to be much more complicated than "Hi, thanks for mentioning us in this article, would it be possible for you to include a link back to our site in the piece?" You'll find that many people are more than happy to do exactly that for you.
Finding Older Mentions
As well as setting up proactive monitoring, you'll also want to dig back into older unlinked mentions and see if you can grab some links there, too. For this, you'll need Google, an understanding of advanced search queries and a SERPs overlay such as the MozBar. The trick here is to craft queries that return mentions of your brand on the site from which you want a link.
At the very least you'll want to use "Brand Name" -site:yourwebsite.com as a search. By substituting your brand name for the term you're targeting and yourwebsite.com for the actual address of your site, you’ll get results for your target phrase but with all mentions of it on your site excluded. With your search overlay, you can quickly draw up a list of sites to target and then, as before, you can start to contact people, using Excel or Buzzstream to monitor your progress.
If you need to get to grips with advanced Google queries, this guide to search operators is a good place to start.
Finally, monitoring brand mentions is a great way to do proactive customer service. You won't want to ask for a link from people who have mentioned you in a negative light, but you will have a chance to try and improve their opinion of you by reaching out and offering any assistance they might need.
All in all, it's a relatively quick and easy way to grab the kinds of links that will boost your search engine rankings.
In association with leading research firms and industry associations, the Online Marketing Institute has developed in-depth, advanced SEO training and website optimization, geared specifically toward marketing and Internet professionals who wish to expand their organic presence, quality scores, and relevant traffic. Learn more by enrolling in the SEO certification today!