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The following excerpt is from the Garrett French and Eric Ward’s book Ultimate Guide to Link Building, 2nd Edition. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes or click here to buy it directly from us and SAVE 60% on this book when you use code MARKET2021 through 4/3/21.
The following linkable asset categories will help get you thinking about what your organization’s linkable assets could be. Thinking broadly and creatively at the beginning of a link-building campaign or project engagement can open you to a stronger, more effective campaign design. After all, you could be sitting on a link magnet and not even realize it!
1. Free apps and tools on your site
Do you provide any free applications or web-based tools to your site visitors? If so, it’s likely that these have already attracted links naturally. If you haven’t promoted these tools yet for the purpose of link building, then these assets could help you develop even more links.
Be careful, though, when designing and building a tool or app—they can be expensive (sometimes two to three times what you expect, or what you’re quoted), can seem to take forever to develop and could still flop. That said, nothing demonstrates your expertise like a custom tool you’ve crafted to make your customers’ lives easier.
2. Products/Services to give away for donations/Contests/Review
If you have products or services you can give away, you can earn links through donation thank-you pages, through contests and via product/service reviews from experts in your market. Often, this asset is one of the easiest paths to developing links. However, it’s fairly easy for your competitors to emulate. Further, these approaches to link building can create enormous and unexpected logistical nightmares, such as shipping and packaging, or even getting the winner’s contact information from the site conducting the giveaway.
3. Thought leaders and subject-matter experts
Are there existing or potential thought leaders and subject matter experts in your organization? Do they have time to write, podcast, host a webinar or in some other way share their expertise with the market? What about growing their key contributions into a conference presentation? Thought leaders could generate links in the form of interviews, guest posts and quote contributions to industry news publications. If you have a PR or social media department, link builders should help them to identify link opportunities that these assets enable.
4. Widgets, tools, images and data for publishers (off-site)
Have you created widgets, tools, images or data that publishers of other sites are free to add to their websites? Infographics, embeddable tools, research data and other types of information created for the express purpose of giving it away is a classic and powerful method for earning links. If you have any of these assets and haven’t aggressively and extensively promoted them, then you’re leaving valuable links and relationships on the table.
5. Partner relationships
Do you have business partners, vendors, customers and technology licensees? Each of these represents a potential link in the form of testimonials, published client lists and “powered by” buttons. Gather a list of your vendors and partners and look for ways to acquire (and give) links to all of them. Think interviews, link requests for their vendors and partners’ pages and updated “powered by” badges.
6. Job listings, events and coupons
If your organization consistently publishes job openings, puts on events or launches new products, then you’ve got quite a few link opportunities open to you. Colleges and industry vertical sites are sometimes willing to link to pages that feature new job openings. A good example of a linkable page is a company webpage that describes the advantages of working at that company. Many cities have event calendars that will publish details about your event and post links on their site for sign-up and more information. If you consistently offer coupons to your customers, you’ll find massive numbers of coupon-listing sites, many of which link back.
7. Consistent publishing via blog, video, podcast, PDFs and social media
Does your organization publish content consistently? These linkable assets open you to numerous link-opportunity types from around your industry: everything from blog directories, niche social news sites and blog lists to PDF submissions and distribution sites. In some industries, the fact that your CEO blogs is link-worthy and notable in itself.
Money is almost always a linkable asset, in that if you have the money, you can offer it to another site in exchange for a link. However, the link opportunities that you can purchase are often easy for competitors to duplicate. Further, some search engines aggressively penalize (in the form of lowered search rankings) purchased links that aren’t labeled or coded as advertisements, making them a potentially risky investment that could end up costing far more in damages than they bring in search traffic. Some sites, such as directories, require a budget as well.
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