If you want people to link to your content you need to start with good content. You should also have clear and relevant outbound links from your site. A persuasive argument for other sites to link to yours is that you have already linked to theirs – it’s called link love. Reciprocal linking works well but not all sites are of equal value. It stands to reason that if you can engineer a reciprocal link from a site that ranks highly on Google that will deliver more than a link from a site that doesn’t. An effective linking building strategy involves generating links that will drive traffic.
You should avoid working with companies that offer to create multiple false links; these are known as link farms and this is a form of ‘black hat’ search engine optimisation. Not only is this unethical but it is one of the best ways to get Google to eliminate your site or relevant content from their databases altogether. By picking a few good sites, emailing them individually with details of exactly what you can offer and where you think a link might fit in with their existing content, you will not only get a greater response rate, but the links you get are sure to be far more valuable.
Finally do not treat the social web as if it exists in isolation. One of the best ways of building interest in your content and persuading people to link their content yours is to have conversations and interaction in the real world. Issue press notices about your content and send them to off line as well as on line media. Talk to as many people as you can about what you are doing. Send links to interested parties in an email or DM them through a social network – make sure they are likely to be interested, don’t spam them. Spread the word, but make sure its relevant.
This article is adapted from a more in depth piece in the book ‘Public Relations and the Social Web’ published this week and available from Amazon.