Whitehat Link Building at Its Finest

Nov 30, 2011   //   by Kaila Strong   //   link building, SEO Blog  //  15 Comments

white hat SEOMany tout link building as a laborious and often unsuccessful venture. Sure it’s hard work that requires manual research, networking and a bit of schmoozing – but it’s not impossible. There are some really easy ways to do the research and compile lists of sites to reach out to…and you don’t even have to spend much time doing it!

Consider the below tips before you start on your next whitehat link building adventure.

Personal Websites

These days just about everyone and their mom has a blog. That means your employees and your customers do too! Check through your list of employees and clients and think about opportunities to garner a link on their sites. Sure not every one of your clients or employees sites will be exactly what you want, but pick out the ones that are applicable. Think about a value proposition before you approach the employee or client. Why should they link to you? For clients you might offer to add them to your own website in return or offer a discount on their next purchase.

For link builders who might not have direct access to a client’s employee list or client list – try some research. Check through LinkedIn search, Twitter search and even Facebook search. Many employees will list employers on Facebook. Then add your findings to a list and approach your link building client with this opportunity as a way to garner some good “low hanging fruit” type links. Have them do the dirty work of reaching out to make it more personal and it’ll likely improve the success rate.

Brand Mentions

Working with large brands I’ve seen this many times – websites large and small write about their brand but don’t link! If they are willing to write about the brand don’t you think they’d be willing to link too? Okay, maybe not all the time … but sometimes certainly!

Set up a Google alert for your brand name. Also set up Google alerts for misspellings of your brand name. As brand mentions roll into your e-mail compile a list and prioritize the opportunities. Every month make it a goal to reach out to at least some of these sites and ask for a link back to your site.  Every now and again, as applicable, let the writer/webmaster know about news or information about your products, services, awards, etc… Since they were willing to write about you without you knowing, they might be willing to write about you again – so give them the information to do so. It might garner some good links to internal product pages.

Industry Resource List

Between library sites, government sites, and even education websites – there are many resource lists that I like to call industry lists. You’ve seen them, a list of a large number of resources for the casual web visitor to peruse at their leisure. In my experience there are industry lists for just about every single industry out there.

Using advanced search commands look for these industry lists. Use search commands looking for a number of your competitors brand names mentioned on a site. Say you’re Alltel. You have quite a few big name competitors: Verizon, Virgin Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, etc… Do a search like this: “Verizon” “virgin mobile” “sprint” “AT&T” “list”. Dig through the list and find an industry list where Alltel isn’t listed but should be and reach out to that webmaster. Another option is to have your client reach out directly (or you – from a branded e-mail address), which may increase the likelihood of being listed on a .edu, .gov, or library site.

Charities

Especially true this time of year, businesses donate to charity. Talk about a pretty juicy link! Most non-profit websites are .orgs, have a lot of incoming links and many have a lot of traffic. If you’re a partner, sponsor, on the board, or otherwise involved with a charity look for link building opportunities. Almost all charities should have sponsors and/or an acknowledgement page on their site.

As link builders you should look at a client’s newsroom and press releases for charities they are donating to if your client isn’t a constant source of information (which is 99% the case in my experience). Then do a bit of research to find those sites and if they have a place for a link. Present your client with a list of opportunities and have their PR team do the dirty work for you to ask for links or logos on the site. Remember – if they opt for logos, don’t forget to customize that alt text!

These are just a few ways you can use some whitehat techniques to help improve the number of unique domains linking to your site. Feel free to share additional ideas in the comments below!

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Kaila Strong

Kaila Strong is an avid tweeter (@cliquekaila), and marketer in the Phoenix area.

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  • Tory says:

    Nice list Kaila! Another way I’ve found to be extremely effective and easy is to sign up at sites like HARO (HelpAReporterOut) which give you direct access to reporters from major news outlets to small personal blogs. It works out well since they are seeking YOU for information for their next post and in most cases they even let you pick the anchor text and site that you want them to link to.

  • Commenter says:

    Hey Kaila,
    Such a good piece here, but what struck me most was the charities method that you mentioned, it’s a kind of an eye opener.
    Thanks for the article, no knowledge is a waist you know! I am gonna have to keep coming back here.
    @ Tory, yeah you are right, that method is a real deal, couldn’t believe my eyes when I came across the website and gave it a trial its worth ones time.
    The truth is that link building is not meant for lazy people, it requires diligence, time and hard work.

    Cheers guys

  • Jon Cooper says:

    Awesome post Kaila! Here’s another one: adding value to influential websites, such as fixing broken links, grammar, or helping to curate an old post or resource list. Once you go out of your way for someone else, you’ll have a way better shot in getting a link (that is if you content is relevant).

    • Kaila Strong says:

      Thanks for the compliment Jon. Your suggestion of fixing broken links is one that my old coworker Kristi Hines use to do and she was pretty successful at it. Going out of your way certainly can help. If you think like a webmaster and put your approach in their terms and figure out a value proposition for them – they’ll be more apt to place your link. Thanks for the addition to the list!

  • Jed says:

    A few good tips here Kaila, and I suppose regarding the charities thing, everyone’s a winner!

  • Ray says:

    I have heard people say that you can make a donation to some sites and they will post a link to your site on theirs. I don’t know how much you will benefit from it, but I guess if the site is decent, and you donate to a good cause it is a win win scenario.

  • I have done mostly Twitter and Facebook search and this has helped alot. In addition to this I simply browse blogs and find useful info. Linkbuilding is not so hard, you just need to know what are you doing.

  • Talha says:

    These are some effective methods, but the likelihood of getting such links is relatively low.

    SEO’s should use link-baiting techniques and create such oppurtunities.

  • Kaila

    I’m no SEO expert and so your post here has been very educating for me. I already do a lot of work with a local charity and have never thought of asking for a link from their site to mine. I’m off to make the call now though after reading this!

    Thanks again for some great information.

    Allan

  • Cem says:

    Good post, the charity idea is very doable and is both a good cause and drives traffic – so double good :-).

    However, I have a ideas to add:

    1. Great content – we have a blog where we write about our daily work. Funny stuff gets a lot of shares and traffic (I am of the opinion that social “likes” etc improves your SERPS). Also it has increased our conversions..obviously takes dedication of the entire team.
    2. Backlinks of the competition: That is how I found this blog – I followed Thalia from languageconnect :-).

  • Abhishek says:

    The point covered under the “Industry Resource List” seems like a good option to generate some quality backlinks from authority sites. I have not focused on this way of generating backlinks but looks like I should definitely try this out….

  • Jamy Hoster says:

    White hat the quality link building the way is safe for every site it wont let anything spam.