Building relationships with other bloggers as outlined so far is effective, but there are additional ways to interact with others and in the process let them know you have content they might be interested in. Any environment in which social interactions occur is another good place to invest time and effort. You can use social networks, such as the current market leaders—LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Interest, and Twitter—for link-building purposes without actually getting the link authority directly from one of these sites. Major forums that relate to your area of interest also represent great targets.
As we will discuss in more detail in Chapter 8, the links implemented directly on these sites are no-followed, so they do not pass direct SEO value. However, social media can help get you exposure to bloggers and media people who may then choose to cite your content or write about it, and implement links back to you. This indirect form of obtaining links can be quite powerful. Building relationships and trust on a social media platform can drive lots of traffic and links to your site. The mechanics of making this work are fairly straightforward:
- Publish great noncommercial content related to your business on your site.
- Establish and grow social media presences on major social media platforms that promote the same types of content.
- Share your content via these platforms.
If you have done this well, sharing your newly published content through your social media channels should help your visibility and reputation grow. In turn, the exposure.
to the audience on that social platform should drive traffic and links back to your site. This synergy takes time to build, but will become a valuable asset; a strong social media presence is a powerful ally to any content marketing or SEO strategy. Of course, while you’re establishing connections and building relationships in a social media environment, there’s also the potential for people to submit your content into those social media sites for you, which can lead to links as well.
You can then take the next step and reach out through social networks or forums to make direct contact with people to let them know about your content. This is similar to emailing people, but with a few important distinctions
- You can send out communications to your friends on those networks. Assuming that you have treated the “friend” designation judiciously (rather than “friending” everybody in sight), these communications can be a bit more informal than an unsolicited email would be.
- You can also join groups on these networks related to your market space, and then send messages out to those groups. These groups will enable you to reach new people with related interests.
- Messages broadcast through these networks cannot be personalized, so you must tailor a more general message for these types of communications.
- Beware of broadcasting too many messages or poorly targeted messages. Many publishers have made this mistake, became pariahs in their communities, and lost the leverage these social networks bring to the link-building process.
- You can send personalized messages on a one-on-one basis as well.
One strategy for approaching an authority site is to make initial contact by friending someone in a senior position at the company that publishes the site.
Then you can develop a relationship with that senior person without asking anything of her. Once the relationship is established, you can use a more informal approach to introduce the great content on your site.