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The Natural Link Is Making A Comeback (Part 2)

by Jon Cooper
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Last friday I got the chance to write a guest post on Michael King’s iPullrank blog. I wrote a post titled “The Natural Link Is Making A Comeback“, and I talked about the importance of the natural link. Just as I hoped, it stirred up a conversation – a much needed one at that.

Joel K. (@cstechjoel) and I (@pointblankseo) had a little debate on Twitter over the challenges of actually getting natural links.


Joel brought up some great points. He really got me thinking. So I decided to come up with a few ways to attract natural links in terribly boring niches.

Link Roundups

As stated in the conversation, people still do link roundup posts, but not everyone. That’s why you have to seek out those that do and build relationships with them. For example, here are a few recent roundup posts in the SEO niche:

Search Engine Land’s SearchCap – Every week day Matt McGee or Barry Schwartz does a roundup of SEO & SEM related posts.

Kikolani’s Fetching Friday – Every friday Kristi Hines does a weekly roundup of Blogging, Business, Freelancing, and SEO posts.

SEO Copywriting’s Weekly – Another highly authoritative weekly roundup of posts.

Eugen Oprea’s Weekly – Eugen does a wrap up every friday.

Hallam Internet’s Monthly – Wayne Barker’s monthly roundup on a superbly designed blog.

These are just some of the more authoritative roundups; I could name at least 5-10 more that have caught my eye over the last few months.

In my situation, Kristi Hines would be someone I want to get to know a lot better. She not only does weekly roundups on Kikolani every friday, but she consistently puts together resource lists on various blogs, such as this one and this one.

If you can’t find people in your industry that do roundup posts, then you have two options. The first is finding the nearest relevant niche that does roundup posts. For example, even though I’m a link building blog, I might want to steer some of my content towards small business; it’s broad, and I can write up posts on small business link building. The second is starting roundup posts on your blog and encouraging other niche bloggers to do the same. Trust me, it’s possible, but you have to link out to them a lot in the beginning, and you need to tell them individually the benefits these posts offer.

About and Media Pages

On about & media pages, people link out to where they’re mentioned prominently or where they’re interviewed. This is your green light to creating something that could be linked to on this page. Get in touch, ask for an interview, and make sure when you publish it, you remind them to add it to their page.

If you think creating one post to land just one of these links isn’t worth it, realize that these are static pages that are highly linked to, and that most of your posts have zero links. Even if you’re surrounded by a community who participates in roundups, you’ll still get on average one link per post (and that’s at best!).

Also, this is great for those who have problems creating content. Interviews & reviews in general that net these kinds of links give you an endless list of topic ideas. If you do one a week, that’s one less post you have to write of a topic that usually takes you 10-15 minutes to brainstorm.

Substantial Findings on a Popular Topic

If there’s a specific topic in your niche that people love writing about, and one that’s highly popular, try to collect data and/or present it in a way that makes a significant find. Then find bloggers that write about these topics and make sure they know about your post – they’ll do the rest if they think it’s link-worthy.

You don’t have to do one of these very single week. If you can focus on creating just one post every once in a while that releases new data on a topic that’s consistently written on, and you get it in front of the right eyes, there’s a good chance it will be cited in other blog’s posts on a consistent basis.

Dan Zarrella does a fantastic job with this. People want to know how to get more retweets and a higher CTR on twitter, so he’s always doing research and collecting data. You might not have as an exciting of a topic, but as I preach, it’s up to you to get creative and make it happen; I can only help you so much.

Fun, Midly Irrelevant Content

Before all of the Randites criticize me because a recent Whiteboard Friday told us to not publish content off topic, here me out.

First of all, I’m not telling you to create exciting, somewhat off topic content, all the time. Actually, I suggest making it at the very most 30-40% of your content.

Secondly, it works. Thomson.co.uk, a travel site, put together these two outstanding pieces of content that’s netted them a high amount of links and exposure (the second one is fairly new, so not much link data on it quite yet).

Finally, it doesn’t have to be completely irrelevant. When you’re steering your content towards the finish line (essentially the perfect linkbait), make sure you stop at a few relevant places on the way. Thomson’s second linkbait is a perfect example: no, the super bowl is not related to them, but if they push the idea of traveling to the superbowl and making hotel reservations, then they’re golden.

Conclusion

Your niche is very different than my niche, and the other guy who’s reading this’ niche, and so on. We’re all in different situations. Some things I listed here my not work for you, while they might work for others. You have to figure out what works best, and run with it. Sometimes you only need one really awesome content strategy to make everything worth it. Granted it’s best to not have all of your eggs in one basket, if you can find one huge basket, and no other baskets in sight, load it up, and hope other baskets show up on the way (hopefully you understand this attempt at an analogy…).

Now it’s your turn. Is there some head smacking way to attract links naturally that I left out? PLEASE leave a comment and let me know. Also, don’t forget to follow me on twitter @pointblankseo.

This post was written by...

Jon Cooper – who has written 119 posts on Point Blank SEO.

Jon Cooper+ is an SEO consultant based out of Gainesville, FL who specializes in link building. For more information on him and Point Blank SEO, visit the about page. Follow him on Twitter.

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3 Comments
  1. Keith says:

    Let’s be clear here. Good, quality, sharable info doesn’t need 500 shady backlinks to rank. Why? Because it’s useful sh$t!!!! Google is getting better and better at qualifying the content it renders “useful”.

    If you need to rank for something short term, then go on a back link spree, if you need longevity and authority, solve problems. Find a need, fill it.

    That last statement by Kevin about the Llamas is flat out wrong, and he knows it. If you create the “very best” How to guide on ANY subject, it will get linked to and shared. Period.

    Anyway, just my 2 cents :-)

  2. milkmen says:

    I appreciate the passion and debate on this post and twitter. I think the point that you are both making, but with different approaches is…..ADD VALUE! Add value to your customers, add value to your community, add value to your industry. Value has legs. Value merits long term relationships. Value gets referrals, bigger contracts, and lots o love from everyone.

    Once you start adding value work on adding some unique value, something that is needed in the niche or community, fill the gap, ease the pain, or just do it with your own twist/personality. Get ideas from others, learn from others, but ultimately do it your way and with passion.

    Great posts on natural link comeback Jon!

  3. Jon, another great post from the new link building wonderkind! But man o man, these super long posts chocked full of like a hundred great tips and ideas that can each lead me down afternoon long rabbit holes are killing me! In a good way of course.

    I think that more and more link builders/SEOs are getting frustrated by the fact that it is getting extremely difficult to build effective links. If you are a consultant that services 10 clients at an average monthly fee of $2000 per client it is not as scalable, read “easy”, to build links that will effectively get your client’s the rankings they desire. Link builders and SEOs need to be increasingly extremely creative people, but still have enough of an analytical side to be organized and report and and analyze data well. This is a tough thing to ask. Its like asking a programmer to be…. well, to be normal.

    You are a very creative person, so are all the great link builders. They have a mastery of writing, editing, publishing, public relations, repoire, and ingenuity.

    Now on to Part III, when I get a few hours to dive into it. :-)

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