Inbound Marketing 101 – Picking The Brains!

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a sticky wicket, especially for me – basically a “marketing/branding guy.”  I’m still very green, but I’ve learned quite a bit from the HUGE brains of local developers (and friends), as well as those I follow through blogs and other sites.

brainsOne of the things that always confused me about achieving a good web ranking (see WebsiteGrader.com) is the number of inbound links you have to your Web site or blog.  One of the items that they score for “marketing effectiveness” are the inbound links to your Web site. I realized the importance of this after checking my own site’s ranking (right now it’s 96.9/100 with 205 inbound links). Inbound links are a big part of Google’s criteria for ranking your site.

How do you get inbound links? According to Website Grader (and most of the HUGE brains), there are a lot of different ways.  For a great overview of the levels of inbound linking available, Website Grader has a post on “Graduating from Inbound Marketing High school.”

One of the easiest ways to create inbound links is to…  do it yourself.  How? Here are five simple steps to start increasing your web site’s effectiveness:

  1. Find other thought leaders in your preferred field (marketing, branding, cooking, whatever…).  This is easy to do if you search your preferred topic through Google Blogs or social media bookmarking tools like StumbleUpon.
  2. Review and evaluate, looking for high-ranking, relevant blogs and Web sites.  Many sites will be basic aggregation of content.  Be very perspicacious and find the blogs/sites that provide the most optimal content and ranking to follow.
  3. Bookmark and/or subscribe to the RSS feeds for these blogs.
  4. Track and act upon blog posts that you can add value to by posting a comment. Make sure your comment is succinct and intelligent, using key words and phrases pertaining to your field of expertise.
  5. DO NOT SPAM! Most (aware) blog administrators will blacklist you if you start posting comments irrelevant to their blog or have an ungodly amount of links within your comment. If you’re transparent and add value with your comments, and don’t overtly push links to your site; the click-through rate will start jumping.

And there you have it.  You have an inbound link to your site! Rinse and repeat… Simple.

Here’s a bonus.

That blog comment will also be indexed when Google crawls that Web site. So, when someone searches on your name, your Web site, or blog, they will see your comment as part of their Google return.  Brilliant!

Leaving comments on other blogs is a daily ritual for me.  At first it was simply to be social (it IS social media, you know), but as I discovered it’s value as a SEO/marketing strategy, I made sure to comment on other blogs, adding value (and backlinks) as often as possible.

I learn the most from other blogs and friends throughout the “interweb.” As I continue to post, comment, track and act, my foundation as a marketing and branding thought leader is building. It takes time, but trust me, being social pays off.

Food for thought…

Keep Cooking (strategic reciprocal value)!
Andrew B. Clark
The Brand Chef

12 Comments
  1. I have been reading blogs for ages now and I am not one for leaving comments, all change now though, nice article.

    • Thank you , Mark. It’s good that my post inspired you to comment… And, hey, look… a link back to your site as well. Wo-Hoo!

      Keep Cooking!
      Andrew B. Clark
      The Brand Chef

  2. Andrew, nice post. We have spent the last month getting our inbound marketing program into gear. Two key pieces have been signing up with hubspot.com and using Hootsuite. I’ve been in communications since 1994, even made the very first websites, and I know that the magnitude of marketing changes we’ve experience in 15 years of web are about to be relived and compressed in the next five. With http://www.hubspot.com and http://www.hootsuite.com (or your tools of choice) you can now interact directly with your public, and learn in real time all kinds of meaningful information that is instantly relevant.

    As you write, I too realized that commenting is important. This is my third day of commenting. What I thought would be a chore, has turned out to be a great exercise in many dimensions.

    All the best,

    Axle Davids

    p.s. Something I’ve learned today is that if you are going to mention a site (like hubspot) it makes sense to put in “http://” before hand. Small learning, but means others can more easily track those links.

    • Hi Axle –

      Thanks for commenting and clarifying some of the details I’d left out.

      Social media is exciting in that the wealth of information out there is being shared and disseminated through the medium. People learn from you. People learn from me, and then they teach others. Ultimately that’s my goal.

      Hope this venture is as remarkable for you as it has been for me!

      Keep Cooking!
      Andrew B. Clark
      The Brand Chef

  3. Andy

    Simple & brilliant post! I have seen sites do quite well based entirely from traffic gained from social media sites – retweeted.

    Mike

    • Thanks Mike!

      “Brilliant” is quite the assessment… Hope my future posts can live up to it.

      Keep Cooking!
      Andrew B. Clark
      The Brand Chef

  4. Hello from Russia!
    Can I quote a post in your blog with the link to you?

    • I’d be honored. Please let me know how feedback on the the post turns out.

      Keep Cooking!
      Andrew B. Clark
      The Brand Chef

  5. Link building is something I do a lot of. Your way is probably the better, more polite method. So kudos! =)

    • Hi David –

      Every technique is different. As long as you keep the play clean, the game is fun for everyone…

      And look… you have a back link, now!

      And by your DNS address, it looks like your out in the Brown / Providence, RI area? LOVE that part of New England. Say “hey” to the folks at Brown and RISD for me… It’s been 20 years, but someone I know may still be out there… 🙂

      Keep Cooking!
      Andrew B. Clark
      The Brand Chef

  6. Thanks so much for the information on SEO stuff. I will have to try and find a good free website analysis tool so i can get a better picture of what i need to improve on with regards to my personal website.