Watching Your Competition to Build a Connected Brand

Read the original post published on the iCrossing Great Finds Blog on Mar 21, 2012.

CMOs worth their salt compare competitors’ search engine presence against their own. The savvy CMO probably has someone on his or her team tracking competitors’ ranking and traffic data as part of the process of watching the competition. But those metrics don’t create an adequate competitive snapshot. You also should look at your competitors’ inbound link profiles if you want to build a connected brand by being more visible.

Inbound link building has long been a cornerstone of a successful SEO program. It’s no secret that search engines value signals passed from other sites and sources via links to your site and that those signals have an impact on your site’s authority. Conventional wisdom says that having more signals via links means you have a more authoritative site. Consequently, some companies measure their visibility by comparing only the number of their inbound links to the number of their competitor’s inbound links. But it’s not just the number of inbound that can have an impact on site authority. The following inbound linking factors, and related action items, can make your site more visible than your competitors’ sites.

Continue reading

5 Link Building Tips for New Websites

View original post on the Online Marketing Blog published March 20th, 2009

Despite the constantly evolving nature of search engines and ranking methods, inbound links continue be a significant influence on website rankings. The higher quality the link, the more authority that link passes on.

Sites that have been live and active on the web for many years attract a substantial number of links when well promoted. But, what about those sites that are brand new? How should they go about getting quality links right off the bat?

Here is a list of 5 link building tactics for new websites to get them off on the right foot:

  1. Links from Local Organizations - If your company is registered with the Better Business Bureau or the Chamber of Commerce, the links from these sites can be very relevant for geographically specific terms and topics. Also, locate other local businesses and organizations that maintain lists of businesses to request a link from.
  2. Optimized Press Releases – Your business just launched or you have compelling news to announce – why not tell the world about it? There are many great press release distribution services available that will not only increase your brand visibility, but also earn you inbound links. Press releases that get picked up will often mention and link to the company being mentioned. Press releases that are copied whole, as content to blogs and information web sites will frequently retain any embedded links within the press release. However, the links in press releases hosted with wire services are commonly short term or devalued. See this past post for tips on press release optimization and distribution.
  3. Reputable Directory Submissions – While some online directories have gotten a bad rap or have become irrelevant, certain directories can still pack a punch when done right. A few of these directories include Yahoo! Directory and Best of the Web. Also, if your business services a specific geographic area, find some good local directories to submit to, such as Google Local or use a service like GetListed. Optimizing and including your site in local data sources, search engines and directories can help boost your local search visibility.
  4. Charity and Non-Profit Links – Does your company’s business model include philanthropy? When you make charitable contributions to organizations and non-profits, find out if it has a “Donors” list on its website and suggest a link.
  5. Blog Based Link Building – If you’re thinking of starting a blog for your company, be sure to network online with complimentary blogs. Share industry news, original ideas and useful tips and you’ll attract links, often times, without asking. Link to other blogs in your industry, and reference fellow industry bloggers. They’ll notice and may link back. Links that come as a result of sharing useful blog content with others can attract traffic in the short term and boost search engine rankings overall. Just look at our own TopRank Online Marketing Blog with over 700,000 inbound links as an example.

When starting a link building campaign for new website, keep in mind relevancy and authority, because nothing beats a first impression. Whether the first external sites that link to your site make a difference in how search engines understand and rank your web site may be up for debate, but the value of association on consumers that click, visit and share is unmistakable. Focus on attracting links that add value to web site visitors and best represent your most important keywords at the same time.

What link building tips for new websites do you have?