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.
One 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Bookmark and/or subscribe to the RSS feeds for these blogs.
- 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.
- 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