In Part 1 of this article, I outlined the first five easy ways to build up editorial links to your site. Here are the remaining six ways:
6) How-To’s / Tutorials / FAQs
I’m not sure if it’s still there, but in the foyer of the Googleplex in Mountain View California, there used to be a large screen that displayed search queries typed into Google from around the world in real time. Watch it for a minute or less and you were bound to see a search query that starts with “How do I…?” or “What is the best way to…?”
Clearly, a great deal of people use the Internet to research how to perform a particular task or answer a specific question. You can take advantage of this habit by creating content that answers common questions. If you have good skills in a particular area — in a certain piece of software for example — you could create a web page, short tutorial, PDF or blog post about how to use that product/tool/software and publish it on your site. Game cheat sites were born out of “how do I…?” search queries, as were sites like WikiHow and the now defunct Google Answers.
The nice side effect of writing how-to content is that you build up your credibility as an expert in your field and increase the likelihood of your site becoming an authority site in your niche.
See if any of your existing site information lends itself to creating how-to or FAQ style content and re-write it for maximum link value. Or better still, create a how-to video and upload it to YouTube.
7) Original Research
Another logical link acquisition technique, and one that Matt Cutts refers to in his video blog post on the subject is the creation of original, unique and/or exclusive research into a particular subject.
If you conduct a new study or undertake research that is not available anywhere else on the Internet, chances are that it is extremely valuable to others. Product comparisons, statistical research, software reviews, experiments and detailed analytics can all be translated into pages of content and shared online. Such unique content is bound to be picked up quickly by search engines and shared by others, particularly if you circulate it via your social media channels.
Let’s face it, some personalities build a huge following on the Internet and will attract traffic no matter what is written about them. I’m not just referring to celebrities either. Every industry or niche has evangelists and personalities that are well known for both good and bad reasons. You can use this to your advantage by writing articles about them or better still, scoring an interview with them and republishing it.
But just like in traditional journalism, if you want the piece to be shared and linked-to, you’ll need to spend some time carefully planning your questions in a way that will elicit unique information and candid responses from the person that can’t be found elsewhere.
9) Products and Tools
If you have a tech-savvy team or a keen developer, you might look at mini product development as a link building technique. You can create small but useful products or tools for free and syndicate them via your site. For example, a Word Press theme, a plugin for Firefox, a simple iPhone app, a shareable game — anything that can be packaged up as a product, easily delivered and associated with your brand.
Be sure to include your brand attribution within the design interface and a link back to your site. By providing the product/tool for free, you are more likely to achieve higher circulation, which should have a snowball effect in terms of incoming links.
10) Resources and Collections
When you compile a list of resources in a particular niche or subject, you are saving others a lot of research and tedious yak shaving. Because of the concentrated amount of information and content you offer on a particular subject or theme, you’ll often find that more sites will link to your site rather than conduct their own research, particularly if that theme is trending or attracting high search volume.
Group together your resources in a subject or pull together a new collection that you think others might benefit from and publish it. Perhaps your existing content lends itself to being categorized into different subject areas? For example, do you have a bunch of blog posts on scrapbooking techniques that could be bundled together to create a Beginner’s Guide to Scrapbooking? What about all those PDF documents on your server — could they be grouped together to form a collection or library for your visitors to browse and download?
This leads into our final editorial link building technique:
11) Existing Content
To build new editorial links, you might think you absolutely have to create new content. But that’s not necessarily the case. Revisit your existing site content and internal marketing material and see if you can recycle it or rework it to fit into one of the categories listed above.
Take a close look at the following for inspiration:
- Previous newsletter content
- Related blog posts
- Customer testimonials
- Technical product content
- E-mail campaigns
- Survey results
- Site metrics data
- Ad campaigns
- PDF documents
- Case studies
Create a fresh content ideas list and, whenever a new idea hits you, jot it down or schedule it into your editorial calendar. You’ll be surprised at what a 15-minute detour into your blog archives or Google Analytics account can produce.
Finally, when you’re planning editorial content, ask yourself “Is this quality content? Will people find this interesting or useful?” If you can’t honestly answer “yes,” it’s simply not worth publishing. Rethink and rework until you have truly link-worthy content.