Link Building the New Cross Promotion

26 03 2009

For twenty years or more the marketing industry has been obsessed with the idea of integration.  The nature of the internet is such that if we don’t integrate our online communications may for ever languish in some digital backwater.  

The idea of a link or hyperlink is central to the concept of the world wide web.  If we want to increase traffic to our online content then we need to find ways of creating links that will take people to it.  You need to understand how links work and build linking strategies into your digital PR programmes.  You can if you choose, work with specialists in this area, but if budgets don’t allow there are some basics that you can learn and should implement. 

Unless you have used a search engine, following a link is one of the most common ways to find new content on the web.  A link suggests authority not just in the Technorati sense but in the literal sense.  If a site you trust offers to lead you somewhere for more information you are more likely to have a look.   Link building is about quantity, but for this reason it is also clearly about quality.  Links also elevate your Google rankings. Search engines give sites with good genuine links a higher ranking. 

In many senses the social web is about community and by having links to other places you are playing your part in the community. Effective and appropriate linking can make you part of a powerful network.





Blogroll, Shmogroll.

24 02 2009

toilet-rollNot long after I discovered the concept of blogging I became aware of the convention known as the ‘blogroll’; the list of blogs, usually placed in the sidebar, that reads as a list of other recommended blogs (you’ll find one to your right and down a bit).

As the web is built on the concept of links, I took it as read that this was a key defining element of what made a blog.  Moreover to be listed on a blogroll was to be included in that blog’s roll of honour.  Not really so.  Very few visitors ever click on the links in a blogroll.  The blogroll here lists just four blogs.  Two are WordPress links which were automatically generated when I set up the blog and it seemed a bit churlish to delete them.  One is for PRMediaBlog where I also post and the fourth is a link to Todd Defren’s PR Squared blog, which I included beacuse I believe that Todd is ‘the’ trailblazer for PR 2.0 or digital PR.  Of the four as the only link with no vested interest, it could be considered to be the ‘control’ in terms of click through.  The results are not spectacular.  The first 5000 visits to this blog generated just three visits to PR Squared or a 0.06% click through rate.

Blogrolls just don’t generated much traffic.  I predict that Todd’s blog will get more visits from this single post than from three months on the blog roll…but that’s up to you not me.





Who’s the Pimp?

18 02 2009

I have read a couple of posts recently by leading PR evangelists talking in disparaging terms about ‘pimping’ blogs in social networks.  It seems that it is unseemly to post too many links to your own scribblings in twitter and elsewhere.

I’m going to ‘fess up right now, I ‘tweet’ a link to pretty much every post I write on this blog and on PR Media Blog the agency blog for Staniforth\  (I also recommend blogs by my colleagues) and I think that it is a right and proper thing to do for a number of reasons.

  • One of the most important functions of the social web is to promote and share content. Links maketh the web.
  • If I don’t link to what I post I really shouldn’t expect others to do it for me.
  • It’s completely opt in.  If you don’t want to follow the link, you won’t and if it really offends you, you will vote with your feet and unfollow, delink or unbefriend.   Market forces are alive and well on the social web even if they seem to have deserted the global economy.
  • I can’t say everything I want to in 140 characters.
  • I want the people I follow to tell me when they’ve written something.  It’s more personal than an RSS feed (and I’m a bit slack when it comes to looking at my feed readers). 

This having been said there are some conventions to observe and room for a well mannered approach

  • Promote other people’s content as well as your own.
  • Maintain a healthy balance and add some thoughtful microblogs to your twitterstream.
  • Keep your friends and followers in mind whatever it is you say or link to.

There is a final argument in favour of the promoter.  This blog has a twitter presence (@SOCIALWEBPR).  It does nothing but pump out links to this blog….and it is about to overtake my personal twitter presence in terms of follower numbers, oh and it never follows it just follows back.   I can only conclude that  the simple  links are more compelling than my innumerable  assorted micro-ramblings.








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