Technology and software vendors realize how important SEO can be for generating leads and building brand awareness for their solutions and the organization in general.
And while the foundation of a solid SEO strategy starts with good content, link building can be the secret ingredient to unlock the full potential of content marketing and traffic from organic search engines.
But link building is not easy.
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According to research from Ascend2, link building overwhelming was considered the most difficult SEO tactic to implement (52 percent) despite being considered the third most effective tactic to execute (see graphics below).
Images via Ascend2: Search Engine Optimization Tactics
The good news is that when a technology or software vendor starts to think about link building as simply a component of their ongoing content distribution efforts, the task becomes much less daunting.
Here are 35 ideas to kickstart your link building efforts, ranging from the quick hits to tactics requiring a greater level of preparation and strategic planning and development.
The Quick Link Building Hits
- Search Google for mentions of your company name, brand, product names, and even key management to determine if sites mentioning these things included links too.
- Use Google Image Search to search for your logo and find locations where it has been placed without a link to your website.
- Or use a free tool or free trial like social mention, mention.com, or talkwalker to track brand mentions as well.
- Use SEMrush or Ahrefs to check your competitor’s backlinks for new link opportunities and tactics they are leveraging.
- Research opportunities to get your blog posts submitted or syndicated on third-party sites.
- Use Google Search Console to find the URLs that link to 404 pages on your site.
- Monitor forums and applicable online communities for discussions relevant to your industry and solutions.
- Use a solution like Help a Reporter Out to find contribution requests from relevant journalists and bloggers.
Tactics that build brand awareness first and inbound links second
Many online publishers enforce the “nofollow” element to links created that go to third-party websites. The most common examples are social media platforms and blog comments.
And while there are numerous discussions debating the value of a nofollow link directly for SEO, it’s still important to realize acquiring these links may still help establish and improve brand visibility.
Done correctly, nofollow links can influence publishers and influencers to organically link to good content marketing assets, or provide support for link building outreach tactics down the road.
Some examples we’ve had success with:
- Build a targeted Twitter list and actively network with profiles that are associated with targeted publications, blogs, and websites.
- Publish / repurpose blog posts through places like LinkedIn or Medium.
- Network through LinkedIn.
- Participate in a targeted LinkedIn or Facebook group.
- Participate in relevant discussions on Quora.
- Distribute media assets in locations like YouTube, Slideshare, or even Pinterest when applicable.
- Contribute quality comments in relevant blogs and link to your website via applicable profile fields.
- Submit blog posts and articles to popular news aggregation and bookmarking sites such as Pocket, Digg, or even Reddit, if applicable.
Tactics that take a bit more time and preparation in execution
- Write a newsworthy press release and distribute it to key publishers and media outlets.
- Consider requesting approval to write an article for CustomerThink.com, Business2Community.com, or other niche sites accepting articles (that provide third-party links, of course)
- Guest author a post on an industry-related blog or publication.
- Start blogging in an effort to organically acquire high quality links.
- Donate your time to a worthwhile cause.
- Find industry-relevant locations where you can submit your web address – as part of your organizational profile – that does not “nofollow” the web address link. Examples include Crunchbase, CabinetM, and G2Crowd potentially.
- Run a contest or promotional event.
- Sponsor an event or conference your organization is attending, presenting, or exhibiting with.
- Sponsor or advertise in a sub-section of an industry-relevant message board or online forum.
- Research important editors and publishers in your industry, including local news publications, trade publications and industry news sources to pitch news, content, or product announcements.
- Send out the perfect link request…or even….pick up the phone and call.
- Link to other bloggers in your industry in hopes that they notice your link and then link back either at some point in the future or in reference to a valuable post you may have written in the past.
Strategic, long-term link building campaigns
This set of tactics take more time and effort and it may also be difficult to measure short-term gains and direct “wins”. However, in our experience, dedication to a plan and a consistent focus are what often brings long-term value for these link building strategies.
- Build a database (or even an Excel spreadsheet) of contact information for quality link opportunities in your industry.
- Build influential social media profiles designed to network with key influencers and industry-related publishers.
- Develop an employee advocacy program that helps scale the distribution of content marketing assets throughout individual (employee-owned) social media networks.
- Create content marketing landing pages, organized by strategic keyword targets, curating thought leadership, lead generation assets, and industry expertise.
- Create a high-quality content marketing asset that addresses a key pain point along the B2B buyer journey.
- Research and reach out to third-party sites that previously linked to websites now owned through a strategic merger or acquisition.
- Develop a content marketing outreach program through strategic alliances, distributors (if you have a channel partner network), vendors (if you are a distributor), or other industry partners.
Finally, two important facets of the link building process that are critical regardless of tactics employed, or if you’re a B2B technology and software vendor or any type of B2B marketer:
- Create good content that applies to your target audiences.
- Effectively communicate the value of your content to applicable third-party website’s target audiences.
The key takeaway is to be unique, be different, and give someone a good reason to link to you.
I’m certain there is more to add to this list and hopefully it has inspired creative ideas as well.
How have your link building initiatives evolved over time to adapt to the challenges faced with improving B2B SEO presence? We’d love to hear your feedback via comments below and best of luck in your link building efforts this year and beyond.