Inbound links are an important component of search engine optimization (SEO) and increasing your website’s profile on the Internet. (For more info, see the third part of the triangle in the video Driving Website Traffic with the SEO Triangle).
SEO, and particularly the process of building inbound links, is better approached via creative thinking. Once you understand the mechanics of on-page optimization, including the use of pertinent keyword title tags, then the bigger gains are a result of engendering more links to your website.
Although the concept of creating your own inbound links via blog commenting, forum signatures, article distribution, and other manual repetitive processes at least allows you to generate some activity relatively quickly, it is labor intensive. And even if you outsource the work, a chunk of it will only result in low quality links.
Creative Inbound Link Building
A more efficient and effective strategy is to create content that attracts links. Although that may seem to be a trite and oft-repeated statement, what that statement fails to reflect is the necessity to get that content in front of enough readers and influencers to get the link-building stream flowing.
Creative inbound link building is a mix of public relations, marketing, art and of course is an important component of SEO.
The idea of of creative link building is that the greatest amount of inbound links will result from your most broadly respected content. This is not a one-size-fits-all strategy or an automated process. But to say that it is solely a result of “building great content” would miss the fact that all the best content in the world will not generate any links if no one knows about it.
Conversely, a brilliantly conceived and executed publicity strategy to get your content recognized will be of little value if the content itself is mundane.
2 Fundamentals of Creative Link Building
To emphasize, here are the two fundamental components to creative link building:
1) Create content that is valuable and link worthy
2) Promote that content to establish an ever-expanding wave of cascading inbound link-building
Neither point will be as effective without the other.
Race Cars and Link Building
Great content without promotion would be somewhat analogous to building a high-performance race car that has no gas in the tank. In theory, it could be the fastest car in the world, but it will remain on the sidelines and in obscurity until it gets fueled up and performs in the real world of competitive racing.
In other words, high quality content is essential to a link-building campaign in the same way that a high-performance car is necessary to win races. But like a race car, it will not achieve desired results without marketing and publicity as the fuel to drive it into the ranks of the winner’s circle.
Creative Link Building Suggestions
Here are some questions to contemplate in relation to the two fundamentals noted above.
- What types of content in your industry are in demand?
- Is there some industry problem you can solve?
- What original research can you deliver?
- What kinds of online and/or software tools would be useful to your industry?
Once you have such content, here are some additional questions to contemplate in terms of promoting it.
- Where can this content be placed to generate attention?
- What websites, blogs, magazines or other (online and offline) media are central to your industry?
- Would a social media strategy help to promote this content?
- Who are some of the primary industry influencers?
- How can you get your content in front of them?
- Are their joint venture email (or other) opportunities?
- Would this content benefit from paid press releases for general promotion?
- Is the content so valuable that it could benefit from pay-per-click advertising?
The whole point here is that the two-fold process of creating the right content and then promoting it to the right public is not a mechanical strategy and the more creative energy you can apply to it, the more success you will achieve.