You’re at a cocktail party with a bunch of people – you know about 30% of the people in the room. A friend tagged along who is a lawyer who has just launched their own business catering to a niche set of industries. You go to get a drink and your partner introduces you to Gary, (they met at the bar) who is in one of those industries. You make the connection and the two parties chat over a craft beer and a tempura soft shell crab claw and everyone is happy.
What’s this got to do with Search Engine Optimisation you say? Well knowing someone, and introducing them to someone else in the business sense, is the same online. That's the mindset you should be taking when implementing your outreach strategy. Popping a link in your blog content or your social media recommending someone is the online equivalent of the “cocktail party introduction” and isn’t something that needs to be harder than that. Modern SEO practices are heavily reliant on great onpage SEO, some technical factors and a fully strategised content marketing plan, and some technical stuff to boot.
BUILDING ONLINE RELATIONSHIPS
“So if a link is an introduction to a prospective audience, how do I encourage businesses and other people to promote my business?”
I’m glad you asked.
Taking your online activity up and creating a community of likeminded businesses and affiliates and knowing what it means to have “good business karma” is the first step. Do some research and establish who you can support. Who would you personally recommend? Who else might see value in your proposition and recommend you too? Why not approach these people with the option of swapping a guest post? Start with an open and genuine message of support and build a connection.
Content Marketing is a very time consuming practice which evolved as a middle ground between the consumer and Search Engines. No smart person who you share an ethos (and an audience) with is going to turn you away without consideration. Work on building your audience with outreach. Create credible, useful and quality content and start building a community.
Sidenote: This has NOTHING to do with affiliate marketing tactics, just good honest community building with a better experience for the customer and your business alike.
THE PASSIVE BENEFITS OF GUEST POSTING
There’s more to referral link building than just SEO, in fact I’d put SEO below the other benefits and lead with these:
- Social proof
- Personal profile building
- SEO juice
(…in that order)
Search will only take you so far as people finding your business – the highly sought after “Page 1”. But what will make them choose to purchase from YOU? What about the part where you are a public authority on that topic, or that people have openly promoted your service at will?
People love recommendations from their friends. Would it help you to go from Apple to Samsung if your friend had made the jump and recommended it? What about if there was a global trend of people suddenly experiencing terrible service at Apple? The online environment values social proof - whether it’s link referrals, reviews, check-in’s or tags - and will acknowledge whether the trend is positive or negative. People like to know there is a genuineness to what they are investing their hard earned cash in.
PERSONAL PROFILE BUILDING
Whether you are introverted or can totally work a room, having an online or physical presence builds trust in your product or service. In the great era of research, if you can’t be found as a person, it’s harder for people to invest in your offering.
AND FINALLY, SEO JUICE
Let Rand take you through indirect paths for SEO - he is far more eloquent than I am. He’ll keep it simple:
You may think that SEO isn’t about ‘people’ and you’ve probably been spoken to in a way that makes it seem unattainable and so you keep thinking that. You could perceive Google as the God of online marketing, the ultimate judge of the quality of your marketing and whether or not you’ll get customers. That’s as true as you let it be.
If you want to leave SEO up to the analysts and “computer geek” dudes and babes – by all means, but if you want to grab the bull by the horns and get the job done in a way that feels natural and progressive, you’ve got all you need to get started. In fact, why not start now by building out content that encourages your SEO performance? You can read more about how to make magic in HubSpot below: