Link Building 101: Create a Strong Sense of Community

Earlier this week I attended Jon Ball’s webinar on link building in search of some new Penguin-friendly strategies. But amidst the suggestions of where and how to post links, a bigger picture began to develop: link building is as much about your product’s or industry’s community as it is about the URL you share.

In the vast expanse of the World Wide Web, it’s important to have a strong sense of community for both you and your consumers to invest in. We’ve talked before about the importance of building relationships first, backlinks second. Think of it as the digital version of getting to know your local businesses, sponsoring your neighborhood’s softball team or posting flyers at the coffee shop around the corner. Engaging your community can turn your website into a destination, your blog into a conversation and your Facebook page into a hub of information—all potential points for a customer to reach his zero moment of truth and all pointing back to your product.

When a gardening business submits “how-to” articles to a DIY website, a scrapbooking company re-blogs completed scrapbooks on Tumblr or a chef blogs about his favorite knives, these are link swapping opportunities. When you link to relevant content on the web, you give your customers (and Google’s crawlers) a pathway to information and you increase your chances of being linked back to. Here are some more community-enriching, link building opportunities:

  • Post customer testimonials and reviews: excited customers may blog, share or tweet their testimonials after they’re published on your site, which creates a link to you.
  • Encourage guest posts on your blog or offer to guest post on related blogs
  • Create an infographic about your product (that links to your site) and invite others to post it
  • Be active in a relevant forum: make it your goal to get to know people, not constantly sell your product (and don’t forget to include your website in your signature)
  • Interview experts: link to her site or social media profile and she’s likely to link to the interview
  • Create trade article or guides to your product or a topic in your industry and encourage others to link it

This is just the starting point in engaging your community and cultivating your online presence to open the door to link sharing opportunities.

Harvin Bedenbaugh – Project Manager

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