SEO is mostly dead. There’s no question that SEO can’t replace a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy. The world’s most effective content marketing is written for humans – but it’s formatted in a way that Google loves, too. While the algorithms of major search algorithms have shifted from quantity to quality, inbound links and social shares are used as a measure for Google to identify whether your blog is great or mediocre. If you’re looking for some tactics to boost your ranking that won’t get your website in hot water, we’ve compiled the following:
1. Submit Your Website to Directories
The only way you ethically can and should build inbound links back to your website is through submitting to web directories. To be clear, not all inbound links are created equal. A link from a high-authority website like CNN or the HubSpot blog will matter much more than being indexed in a free website directory. Is submitting your blog URL still worth it? Absolutely.
2. Write Link Bait
If you want to generate inbound links, you should write things that people want to reference and share on their own websites. Easier said than done, right? We can’t promise you’ll earn links from the following, but they have a history of working out well for SEO:
- Original data and research – Case studies and experiments. Fresh data from reliable sources like eMarketer, Factbrowser, Scarborough, HubSpot or Marketo could also work.
- Infographics – the original link bait, the best are virally shared, re-posted and pinned.
- Videos – Original videos that speak directly to your buyer personas‘ senses of humor work bet. No time or budget? Analyze a viral video.
3. Guest Posting
Sure, guest posting is a long, arduous process that involves writing a whole piece of content and giving it away for free, but it’s also an exceptional way to build relationships and inbound links. As an added bonus, you could notice a jump in your blog’s readership thanks to the fact your writing was exposed to a whole new network of readers.
4. Just Asking
I’m sure there’s a way to connect who are willing to trade links for pure SEO benefit, but there are at least a dozen really smart Google employees working right now to make sure they get zero credit. We’re not suggesting you find people to trade links with deliberately, but we’re saying you should be able to ask for some credit if you feel it’s due.
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Did you respond to a reporter’s query or stumble across a mention of your name, company, website or research that conspicuously lacked a link? You’ve got every right to shoot an email and even suggest a blog post you’d like a link to. They might be perfectly happy to pass the SEO juice.
5. Buy Some Links
Yes, we just told you to go buy some links. As Rand Fishkin indicated at HubSpot’s Inbound 12 conference way back in August, it’s not always a sketchy tactic, especially for geo-targeted marketers. Can you offer some contribution to a sports team, charity event or non-profit in your area, with the idea that you’d be mentioned on the website as a sponsor? Everyone benefits from these kinds of exchanges.
Are you in the habit of maintaining a high engagement rate on Twitter and commenting on dozens of other blogs each day? If not, it’s time to start. Some experts recommend you approach connecting with people with digital influence strategically. Make a Twitter list, interact, comment on their blog posts and pass links in your own blog. Send them a Tweet when you’re referenced. If you’re on their radar and write outstanding content, it stands to reason that they may give you a link or two.
7. Sharing Freely
Encourage reciprocity. SEO blogger Harry Gold advises that you make it clear to other website owners that they can take any user-generated visual content from your website they want – graphs, images, videos or infographics. Just ask for a link in return. While you’re at it, ensure that all high-value content on your site - including images, charts, graphs, white papers, and videos are socially enabled, because exposure never hurt anyone.
What SEO tactics have you found effective?