Effective and strategic link building shouldn’t be done in a vacuum. It should be an extension of everything you do as part of your marketing execution and not an afterthought.
To effectively create link building campaigns, your SEO specialists should:
- Audit all of your marketing activities.
- Develop or gain access to your organization’s marketing campaign calendar or road-map.
- Interview marketing managers from every department to understand their goals, high-level project plans, and the channels they will be commenting in.
By going through these three steps before starting your link-building initiatives, you’ll understand the people, processes, and available opportunities, which will help you get the most leverage for your campaigns.
Larger organizations play in a much different environment in terms of link building when compared to new startups.
Large organization tactics are more about volume and identifying somewhat passive ways to grow at scale (versus one-off, manual link requests).
Here are six link-building opportunities that larger brands should explore (but often overlook).
1. Offline Events
Develop a list of every trade show, conference, and festival your company is attending this year.
Offline events generally have an online presence to provide information to attendees, speakers, and sponsors.
You can build links within:
- The list of brands attending.
- Listings of the individual session your company is sponsoring or featuring.
- Or possibly an editorial section used to highlight specific sessions, parties, or areas of interest.
If your company has a booth, make sure you explore all of the digital touchpoints your company has access to in order to maximize the investment in these efforts.
What organizations are you partnering with to grow exposure to your brand?
Typically, larger brands have co-marketing opportunities that exist in silos across the organization.
Some of the more common types of co-marketing that companies execute are:
These types of co-marketing opportunities are facilitated when:
- Both organizations have a symbiotic story to tell.
- Organizational messaging and products are complementary for each of their respective audiences.
In this type of co-marketing relationship, partners create:
- Blog posts.
- Other forms of content.
Both of their logos are present on the deliverables and they link to each other’s site to promote assets.
Product partnerships are more involved with technology or integrations where the customers of both partners gain value out of the combination of both companies’ solutions.
For the former, brands should explore the promotional channels involved in driving awareness to the co-marketing partner’s content.
The easiest link to build here is one directly on the co-marketing partner’s website.
3. Technology & Integration Partnerships
What platforms or solutions does your product or service integrate with that provide increased value for the end user?
The most common link building opportunity in this area is within marketplaces or integration listings.
Here are a couple listing examples in various spaces:
Each of these integration partnerships varies in cost and effort.
Some integration marketplaces will only list you if you pay a fee, while others will only feature your listing if you have a specific number of integration users.
Don’t overlook the opportunity to gain both link equity and actual referral customers from completing your listing within these app marketplaces.
4. Product Launches
Large brands have to make thousands of decisions related to pricing, product, packaging, and promotion.
Typically, link building is an afterthought when a company is looking to enter or grow via a product launch.
Another challenge with link building during product launches is that the SEO or agency involved with link building is not privy to the details of the product launch.
To take advantage of opportunities, work with your PR, product and social media/listening teams to know which media outlets your brand will receive coverage from when your launch takes place.
On the PR side, make sure publications and influencers sharing news of your latest products link back to your product launch page.
After a campaign is complete and all promotions are finished, redirect the campaign landing page to the most relevant page – rather than just unpublishing the page and driving visitors to a 404 page.
This is a common mistake with larger brands, where SEO decisions are often overlooked.
5. Press Mentions
What tools do you use to catch every online mention of your brand?
An up-to-date marketing calendar will clue your SEO team into upcoming channels you’ll want to track for company news prior to any campaign going live.
Large brands also often fail to reach out to publications and individual bloggers who share campaign news on their sites.
Get ahead of the news by building social media and news listening streams that alert you any time you’re mentioned online. Add the sites that mention your campaign to your link-building list.
Some SEO tools, like SEMrush, will periodically crawl this link-building list to verify if you have earned a followed link from the site or if it is still pending. (Full disclosure: The agency I work for is an SEMrush partner).
6. Affiliate Partner Channel
What channels does your organization use to grow customers?
For some technology and service providers, affiliates or resellers are the biggest sources of new customers.
A few examples:
- In insurance, big brands should make sure their non-captive agents link back to the corporate website from their independent websites.
- SaaS organizations, which typically have reseller/affiliate models, should do the same by having resellers link to the company site through an authorized reseller badge or a simple anchor text link on the affiliates’ websites.
- The same scenario applies if your brand provides shorter testimonials to other organizations.
Bigger brands don’t have to work as hard to generate links as up-and-coming players in the marketplace do.
To gain the maximum amount of link equity, ensure that a more strategic SEO process is woven within all of your marketing and communications initiatives.