Search Engine Guide

Link Building Outside Your Niche

I know what you’re going to say: in the face of Penguin, link building outside of your own niche isn’t exactly safe anymore. That may or may not be true. It all depends on how you go about it, and exactly where outside of your niche you’re going.

You might want to start by defining what your niche is. Say you’re a plant nursery or gardening store. You focus on the home gardener. These are people who enjoy gardening and making things grow as their hobby. If they have a good season, maybe they like to give away the proceeds of their garden as gifts to friends. Some of them might even be ambitious enough to make a little money on the side from the fruits (and vegetables and other plants) of their labors.

So you can link to other nurseries. But where else can you look for links? Nick Stamoulis at Search Engine Guide offers up a number of useful suggestions. First, consider what other products your customers shop for. You specialize in plants; what else do people who garden need? Gardening tools? Bricks to build borders? Outdoor water fountains and statuary?

You probably don’t carry some of the things that your customers want need for their gardens, but that doesn’t mean that you’re losing business if someone buys that item from someone else. A customer who buys a wheel barrow from someone else isn’t going to NOT buy plants from you. “A great link building opportunity is to partner with relevant companies and pool your combined resources to help both companies succeed,” Stamoulis points out. So you can talk with a company in a related business about both of you being listed on each other’s websites as preferred partners. Or maybe you can take out ads in each other’s newsletters, or contribute to each other’s blogs. Get creative and think beyond a simple link.

Another place you can look to for building links is within your own community – and in this case, I’m not talking about the online community. Maybe you can help the local school raise money with a plant sale, donating plants for the sale and sharing your expertise with free gardening advice. You could give away a coupon for 15 percent off the buyer’s next purchase at your nursery. And that’s just the beginning of your networking and customer-building opportunities. But wait, this was about links, right? “Not only are local events a great way to introduce  your brand to local customers (which is especially important if you have a physical store location you’re trying to drive traffic to), you can also get listed as a sponsor on the organization’s site, as well as a mention in any press coverage of the event in local, online newspapers,” Stamoulis explained. In other words, this kind of activity brings with it fresh, relevant, useful links, if you take advantage of it appropriately.

I’ve saved one of the potentially coolest ideas for link building for last. You might need to build up a little courage to do this right – or if you’ve been in the industry for a long time and know a lot of people, it might not even occur to you, since all of these people are just your friends. What I’m talking about is doing interviews with leading people in the industry, and then posting them on your website.

You don’t need to go for the celebrities who are so popular they need a social secretary to manage their time; in this case, it’s the expertise your readers will want to bask in. Of course, if you can get someone who is well-known, by all means go for it! Just make sure, as you’re thinking about who you might interview, that they fit into a niche that connects with yours.

So what kind of industry voice would work here? A local landscape designer might work. Or you could dream big and try for someone like Mel Bartholomew, the originator of square foot gardening. Is there a botanical garden in your area? Perhaps you can get an interview with someone there.

Doing this kind of interview not only builds content for your site and teaches you more about your own field, but “Chances are the expert is going to help you promote that piece of content because it helps with their own personal branding and link-building,” Stamoulis noted. “But every time they share your interview it’s your site that gets a link and the social signals!” And the better-known the expert you get to interview, the stronger their social network is likely to be. Imagine the reach of the links you’d get from this!

Let me leave you with one more thought from Stamoulis which is the entire key to building links outside your niche: make sure the people and organizations to which you’re reaching out are relevant. In other words, “there needs to be a clear and reasonable relationship between your site and theirs. Look for sites that target the same audience as you and help solve similar problems,” Stamoulis explained. Both your business and your link partner’s business will grow when you work together to fulfill your customers’ needs. Good luck!

Author information

Terri

Terri

The post Link Building Outside Your Niche appeared first on SEO Chat.

Imagine There`s No Google

Imagine there’s no Google, and no search engines, too. The Beatles never imagined such a world, but it can be quite instructive if you do. What, exactly, would you do differently if you couldn’t depend on the search engines to bring you traffic?

Mike Moran raised that question recently over at Search Engine Guide. He acknowledged that we’ve had the World Wide Web for more than 15 years now, and search engines of one kind or another for most of that time. So this may seem a little unrealistic to ask now. Still, you probably spend a lot of time focused on tasks like keyword research, putting out press releases, adding new content, etc. How much of that is for visitors, and how much is for the search engines? How much of it would you do if you couldn’t depend on Google sniffing by your website and bringing human visitors to it later?

There WAS a time, however brief, before search engines. And even after search engines came to be, many of them weren’t very good. Some of us can actually remember that far back. In those days – post-web but pre-Google – marketers plastered a company’s URL on everything they could think of: stationary, business cards, pens, buses, catalogs, brochures, taxis, billboards, convention swag, magazine ads, online display ads on other websites, you name it. You still see plenty of that, of course, but now there are other options.

“Right,” I can hear you saying, “there are search engines.” But we’re trying to get away from the search engines with this mental exercise. If you couldn’t depend on the search engines to pick up your content and bring you visitors, what would you do? Aside from plastering your URL everywhere, I mean.

Moran offers a good answer that you should think about carefully. “I suspect you’d spend a heckuva lot more time promoting your content. I think you’d tweet it. I think you’d blog about it to your subscribers. I think you’d post a video about it on YouTube. I think you’d mention it in your e-mail newsletter. I think you’d make very sure that you were promoting it every way you could to people you thought might be interested.”

Does that sound a little annoying? It could be – if your content isn’t worthy of being promoted. If it is, though, you need to ask yourself why you aren’t doing this already, regardless of Google.

Let me give you an example. There’s a farm about an hour or two from where I live that sends me a semi-regular newsletter to let me know what’s coming ripe there. They grow both organically and hydroponically; in addition to the fruits, vegetables, and plants, they sell supplies for hydroponic gardening and give classes out at the farm. Their newsletter is always full of information I find of interest, even when I don’t act on it right away. Therefore, I welcome it, and don’t consider it spam.

What about your content? When you post something new on your website, or blog about some new or enhanced product or service, are you sure that your readers and visitors will find it of interest? Or are you just doing it to improve your standing in the search engines, and to feed more delicious keywords to Google so it’ll reward you with a bump in your rankings? If you’re only doing it to feed Google, trust me, your visitors will know. To them, the smorgasbord you think you’re laying out will taste like gruel, and they’ll go elsewhere for a truly filling content buffet.

Now, if your content is good, and you’re truly excited to tell others about it, that will show, too. And if it is that good, you should be promoting it in the ways Moran described – because traffic is traffic, after all, and Google can see what you’re doing. “Increasingly, search engines are looking at social media activity, too, as a surrogate for page quality (just as links are),” Moran noted.

Are you still hesitant to promote your content? Why? Don’t you think it’s worth the effort? Then perhaps you’d better back up and rethink your content strategy. As Moran points out, “if you don’t think your content is worthy of that level of promotion, then that’s the first thing for you to work on, because Google probably doesn’t think much of that kind of content either.” Good luck!

Author information

Terri

Terri

The post Imagine There`s No Google appeared first on SEO Chat.

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