When you’re working on a link building campaign, there are two approaches you can take: creating original content for your site that people will want to link to or reaching out to other relevant websites to request a link. Generally, the latter practice has been falling out of style due to its difficulty. If you want to pursue this method, you’ll need to make your efforts worthwhile by getting links from high-ranking, authoritative sites. Depending on your business and location, links from college and university websites can yield excellent results.
In search results, academic websites receive high-rankings either by virtue of their sponsored top-level .edu domain (Google and Bing have not confirmed whether top-level domain type contributes to a site’s ranking in search, but some SEO professionals believe it does), and/or because they have a robust profile of back-links. Why so many back links? Because, .edu sites are large and full of authoritative content — which naturally attracts lots of links from other sites. As such, links from .edu sites have a lot of value.
Even though your website may have nothing to do with academia, links from .edu domains can be beneficial for your link building. On top of that, there are many avenues of approach you take when requesting a link:
The Local Approach: .edu sites often provide users with links to nearby businesses. This helps the site show prospective and current students all available off-campus resources while drumming up some sales for local retailers or service providers. Contact your local schools or universities to see if your business can be included in such listings.
The Career Approach: If your company is hiring, inform the career services office at universities that specialize in your field. By maintaining a career page on your website, you can ensure that career services offices link back to it.
Along similar lines, you can also contact your alma mater about your own personal career success. The alumni organizations and academic departments may be delighted to showcase your success and link back to your company site.
The Research Approach: As academic institutions, most colleges and universities maintain an active library staff. As gurus of information, University librarians consistently produce research guides for online audiences on nearly every topic imaginable. Are they writing about you? Try an “inurl” command search in Google using “libguide” or “libraryguide” and a keyword related to your business. Here’s an example for “real estate.”
As you can see, university libraries across the nation are covering it. Find some guides where you think a link back to your website would be relevant, and then reach out to the library or author of the guide.
As you can see, links from .edu sites not only provide link building value, but are rife with multiple opportunities for many types of companies. Going after .edu links might be just the boost your link building program needs!
Guest blogging is a great way to get quality inbound links to your site. And inbound links, we all know, are a cornerstone of SEO. But, like many ways to market your brand online, there are good ways and bad ways to go about it. Here, we’ll look at some of the Dos and Don’ts of guest blogging.
Do – Use your expertise in a way that can grow your audience – and your influence.
This is the main reason behind guest blogging.
There are blogs that do not directly compete with your business but that relate to your business in some way. If you sell shoes, for example, you might want to look into creating quality content for wedding blogs, fashion blogs or, depending on what kind of shoes you sell, blogs aimed at parents, gardeners, environmentalists, etc.
Don’t — Contact blogs that have nothing to do with your business.
The purpose of guest blogging is to find your audience — or potential audiences — where they live. The key word here is synergy. Creating posts for blogs that have no synergistic connection to your business is a waste of time for all involved.
Do — Create quality content.
The content that you create for each blog should be unique, and should depend upon the look and feel of the blog you’re writing for. If you want to produce content for a blog that tends to be photo-heavy, for example, you will need to produce photos that illustrate your blog post.
Don’t – Pepper your guest blog post with unnecessary links.
Guest blogging is all about cultivating relationships, not building link farms. Link once or twice to extremely pertinent information on your own site, and leave it at that.
Do – Find your audience where it lives.
Use a demographic tool like Google’s Double Click Ad Planner to determine what kind of audience a blog attracts.
Don’t – Waste your time.
Don’t waste your time producing blog posts for blogs with little traffic. Evaluate a blog’s traffic with Double Click Ad Planner to make sure a blog is worth your time.
Do – Write your blog posts ahead of time.
When you approach a publisher with a complete package, rather than an idea, you make it much more likely that the blogger will accept your content.
Don’t — Be impersonal.
Think of guest blogging as relationship building. Don’t send out mass email blasts, or the same content to more than one publisher. Your goal is to make friends. So be human and put your best face forward.
Marketers and webmasters are using more of their time to evaluate their link portfolios and looking for areas of improvement. For now, you can’t control who links to your site (Google has future plans to launch a “disavow this link” tool, which will tell Google to ignore certain links to your site), but you can learn some key things about other sites to determine if a link from them is going to do you more harm than good. By being prudent about where your links are coming from, you can avoid penalties and build a catalog of back links with lasting value.
The best links come from websites that follow ethical practices and have genuine character. From an ethical standpoint, you wouldn’t want a link from a site that links to several other low-quality sites, or that has a bunch of low-quality sites linking to it. Such underlying link schemes are usually on the verge of a penalty at some point. If you have a link from that site, it won’t hold value for very long. Conversely, a link from a site that boasts its own strong link portfolio will better resist algorithm updates and have long term value.
Sites with genuine character and motivation are also important. Is the site maintained by real authors with credentials? Is the content updated with topics relevant to the site’s audience? A site that languishes without updates or that doesn’t have any clear ownership will only lose link value and page visits as time rolls on.
Just as your site is high-quality — updating with original content that prioritizes user experience — it should link and be linked to by similar quality sites. It’s that type of reciprocation that has the highest link value. When it comes to SEO, “like begets links.”