Link Building Strategies for Enterprise Level SEO

While the goal of link building is essentially the same for any business, the ideal strategy changes depending on the market and the size of the business in question. When it comes to SEO for enterprise, you need big results, and that takes big investment. A thousand visitors a day can make or break a small business, but it’s next to nothing for an enterprise.

Link building for enterprise needs to be truly scalable, and that means you need to change your thinking. Here are a few strategies appropriate for the needs of enterprise.

1. Blog Acquisition

Single links, no matter how authoritative, are almost always peanuts for an enterprise level business. The practice of going out and asking for links just isn’t going to make a dent in their already massive authority. Sure, you could set up massive outreach teams and start to get results, but this kind of large scale attention is generally more useful for going back through old content, changing up title tags, and optimizing previous pages for better results.

Rather than asking for links or trickling them in with guest posts, an enterprise level business is going to benefit much more from acquiring entire blogs.

What do I mean by this? Well, take a look at how Susannah Breslin became a Forbes blogger. She was a blogger for True/Slant, which was then acquired by Forbes, and after much persistence, she was accepted as one of the few bloggers for that company that was allowed to become a blogger for Forbes.

Put simply, if a blogger consistently earns natural links, it makes much more sense for an enterprise to just buy the blogger than it does to try to get a guest post on their blog.

I wouldn’t say that Forbes has done it perfectly, though. To really maximize the SEO value, I believe that you should buy not just the blogger, but the entire blog and its accompanying link profile.

In other words, hire the blogger, buy their blog, relocate the content, and redirect each individual page over to your site. Let them run the blog essentially the same way, with just a few pointers, and assurance that you already share similar values before the merger. That way, you capture not just their link profile, but their audience.

Most individual bloggers struggle somewhat with monetization, and those of them that aren’t too stubborn or proud will be happy to sell their blog and their continuing services in exchange for more secure income.

It takes more than just an offer that they can’t refuse, though, if you want to get the best results. Remember that their blog is their baby, and they’ll undoubtedly have some reservations. They’ll want some evidence, preferably in writing, that they will retain a fair amount of control over what they write. Make sure to recognize and address their concerns before they even have a chance to object.

Money is a necessity here, but it’s not an excuse to toss out basic outreach, relationship building, and people skills.

2. Industry Leading Studies

Studies are pretty much always in the news.

Just Google the word “study,” and click on the news results. You’re always going to see millions of results, and while many of them come from universities or government agencies, a fair number of them always come from private businesses, and we’re not just talking about Nielson or ComScore here.

Just as an example, as of this writing (7/7/2013), a company called AppRiver made the news in PC World by releasing a study. The semi-yearly study explains trends in malware and spam, and revealed that one of the latest trends in this world is to hack financial information and then hide the transactions by spamming the victim’s inbox with so much crap that they don’t see the payments being made.

I’ve never heard of AppRiver before, but after just 6 hours, a search for “study AppRiver” over just the past 24 hours turns up 38 results. That’s a lot of linking domains in less than a work day, and it’s testament to the power of industry level studies.

Any enterprise level company, regardless of what industry they’re in, has the resources to conduct some kind of study that is both relevant to their consumers and worthy of making rounds in the news. In fact, as you probably know, most of them are constantly conducting internal statistical studies and experiments for internal use. All it takes is releasing one of these, one with newsworthy appeal, to instantly earn a ton of respect and link equity.

Enterprises that don’t have the internal skillset to conduct such a study can simply sponsor one. The benefits are just as powerful, and they’ll earn massive bonus points from their audience if the study doesn’t “coincidentally” directly promote a product or service of theirs.

Finally, if you can present the results in a visually appealing, easy to understand, and actionable way, the results will be magnified tenfold. It doesn’t have to be an infographic, but it should look appealing, digestible, and worth sharing. Design is an important part of the results, regardless.

3. World Class Tools

I feel like I’m on repeat with this, but this has flown so far underneath the SEO radar that I don’t think I have any other choice. Let me just say this:

link building

Just look at every single mega-successful site on the web and you will see that they’re all built around a tool. Google, Facebook, Blogger, WordPress, Twitter, Wikipedia, YouTube: these sites earn more links before breakfast than most SEOs will earn in their lifetime.

This is the nature of tools. They give people something to do. They give people experiences. People care about experiences and feel they’re worth sharing. And so they link.

The same can only be said of content in special circumstances. NYtimes.com is an order of magnitude behind Facebook in number of linking domains. That means something.

The success of these tools is multiplied even further by the fact that most of them also help people create and share things that came from their own mind. They encourage user generated content and communities, and the result is pure gold.

4. Celebrity Content

Remember how, back in point 1, we said “if a blogger consistently earns natural links, it makes much more sense for an enterprise to just buy the blogger than it does to try to get a guest post on their blog.” Well, that applies here too.

Look no further than LinkedIn’s introduction of the Influencers channel. In the first quarter of 2013, LinkedIn visitors viewed 63 percent more pages than in the same quarter of 2012. More importantly, traffic on the news products grew by a staggering 800 percent. The top posts regularly bring in 100,000 views. They owe this popularity to blog posts by people like Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and even President Obama.

In LinkedIn’s case, the influencers are doing it purely for the exposure on LinkedIn’s already relatively popular site, but there’s no reason the process couldn’t be accelerated and multiplied by financial compensation.

The New York Times has recognized the power of these kinds of posts, and has hired people like Paul Krugman to write for them. Ditto for Huffington Post, with posts by people like Kirk Douglass and Jamie Lee Curtis. Celebrities don’t need to come from Hollywood, they just need to bring clout and authority to the blog. They attract the kind of attention that produces enormous, purely natural link profiles.

Conclusion

SEO for enterprise is an entirely different beast. While many of the fundamentals are the same, you have to think big to win results that enterprises can actually say they care about. That means taking a page from the most successful site on the web. Dominate with tools, mergers, celebrities, and studies. The key is to be newsworthy.

How have you approached enterprise level SEO?

5 Untapped Link Prospecting Gold Mines

Whether you’re an SEO agency or a business owner looking for more search engine traffic, there’s one think you can’t possibly get enough of: backlinks. Unfortunately, finding link targets that are authoritative, relevant, and willing to link is a time-consuming chore.

That’s why most SEOs fire up Google search and enter the same “keyword” + “write for us” search string that their competitors use.

But it doesn’t have to be that way…

Today I’m going to show you 7 places where you can find reams of authoritative sites in your niche that you can get links from.

DMOZ

If only there was a place that hand-curated quality sites…and put them into categories that you could easily find.

Oh wait, there is!

Most SEOs dream of getting a link from this top web directory with near-impossible quality standards.

While a link from DMOZ is a nice thing to have, you can leverage DMOZ’s list of quality sites for pre-qualified link prospects.

The best part of using DMOZ (or similar high-quality directories like Yahoo! and BOTW) is that you can pretty much throw traditional link prospecting out the window: The DMOZ editors have done the hard work for you.

Just head over to the DMOZ homepage and search for a keyword related to your niche (if you’re in a smaller niche you may have to go broader with your searches):

DMOZ Search

In the example below you have over 3000 potential targets:

DMOZ Prospects

You can use a Chrome addon called Link Clump to open several URLs at once and grab your links.

Power tip: Because DMOZ sites tend to be old, they’re ripe for broken link building.

Google Plus for Guest Posting Opportunities

In my experience the best guest posting opportunities come from sites that don’t openly accept guest posts.

Which means that the standard “guest post” search strings are out….

If you know hot to leverage Google Plus you can often find some killer guest posting targets that you’d otherwise miss. How? People love to share their own content on Google Plus: including guest posts they’ve published.

Just head over to Google Plus and use these search strings to find recently-published guest posts in your niche:

keyword + guest post

keyword + guest author

Guest Post Google Plus

And you’ll often come across some awesome niche-relevant sites that you can contact for a guest post placement:

Guest Posting

Blogrolls

Like with DMOZ, blogrolls are curated list of quality sites handed to you on a silver platter.

Any site that’s worthy of a blogroll mention must be quality (and likely authoritative).

The best part?

They’re VERY easy to find.

Just use these search strings to find them:

“keyword” + blogroll

“keyword” + “my favorite sites”

Blogroll Search

And you’ll find lists of quality sites in your niche:

Blogroll

Bonus Tip: Run a broken link check using a program like Check My Links. If you find a broken link, let the site owner know and offer yours as a replacement to get some awesome backlinks!

AllTop

AllTop is similar to DMOZ in that it lists the best sites in a given niche.

But what makes AllTop special is that they only list blogs.

DMOZ and other web directories tend to list a lot of corporate sites. In my experience bloggers are significantly more “link happy” than corporate sites.

Another feature that makes AllTop great for link prospecting is their search function. When you type in a keyword it automatically displays related keywords:

In our baking example, AllTop shows you the keyword “Recipe”…which is another great list of niche-relevant sites:

Alltop Results

Similar Sites

Although this site doesn’t screen for quality, it can reveal some hidden, niche-relevant gems. If you have a client in a “weird chey niche”, like insurance or machine parts, you need to find every link target you can get your hands on.

Just take one of the sites you found in DMOZ or AllTop and enter it into the SimilarSites.com search:

Similar Sites

And the site will show you a list of similar sites:

Similar Sites

Bonus tip: To find even more potential targets, you can take some of the sites you find in this list and enter them into Similar Sites.

5 Types of Link Bait Options That Work

Some people make the mistake of thinking that link bait strategies have to rely on building connections between websites that they already own or control. This is actually one of the worst ways to start a link bait campaign. If you want to boost your website’s popularity, try these 5 types of link baits options that work.

Use Cute Pictures


Image via Flickr by Eyesplash Springing into the new season

When someone finds something adorable online, they have to share it with other people. It’s like they literally cannot help it. There’s actually some science supporting this. According to a study reported at Live Science, people experience “cute aggression” when they see something unbelievably adorable.

In response, they have to take action. They stamp their feet, they squirm, they press their hands to their cheeks, and they share links.

Make a Video

Other bloggers can easily repackage your posts. They just have to take your words and add their own spin. With video content, it’s easier for them to back link to your original content than try to make their own.

Blogging is a collaborative effort, but it’s also competitive. Having great video encourages other bloggers to share your content instead of competing against it.

Take a Controversial Stance

Taking a controversial stance on a topic might not help you make a lot of friends, but it can make your blog more popular. Hey, it works for Rush Limbaugh.

It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of controversy. If you go too far to one side, then you’ll only get short-term popularity. Something in really bad taste might cause a lot of outrage, but people will forget about your site soon afterwards.

You can generate more controversies, but readers will eventually see you as a fringe site that isn’t worthy of their time.

Try Accuracy

There’s an alarming vacuum of accuracy in today’s media. Much of that inaccuracy comes from intentional media bias. MSNBC, for instance, brands itself as “leaning forward,” which means they see themselves as a news organization that takes a left-leaning stance on stories. On the other side, Fox News, which humorously markets itself as “fair and balanced,” relies on cartoonish pundits rather than real journalists.

You can attract wide readership and back links by taking the opposite approach. Do your research so you can report news as accurately as possible. There are a lot of people out there who are sick of biased “news.” Stand out as a site with integrity to earn their respect and readership.

Turn to Humor

Everyone loves humor. Whether you’re good at crafting humorous stories or making memes that go viral like “The End of Hashtags As You Know It“, your site could benefit from something funny. Develop original content that people want to share. That’s one of the best link bait strategies you can find as long as you’re:

  • Topical
  • Original
  • Genuinely funny

What other link baiting strategies have worked well for your site? Have you seen trends that you think will change the way people attract back links to their blogs?

Citation Labs Tools Make Link Prospecting Fun

Let’s be honest: there is a lot in the day-to-day job of an internet marketer that is downright tedious. But every once in a while you come across a tool that helps make those tiresome tasks enjoyable.

Citation Labs new Outbound Link Scraper and Contact Finder are two such tools, that make the task of link prospecting just a little bit easier.

I’ve spent the last several weeks at work reaching out to bloggers. It’s been a time-consuming, boring chore. When I started using the two new Citation Labs tools the other day, I wanted to stay late at work to keep playing with the tools and keep finding more link prospects.

So what do they do?

Outbound Link Scraper

Say you’ve found a really great directory of sites that is related to your niche. There are several categories and pages with links that you want to look at, but you don’t have time to open each one individually. Collect all of the URLs of the pages with links, and throw them into the Outbound Link Scraper. What you get back is every outbound link on all of those URLs, neatly collected in a CSV file.

I put in 11 URLs, and got back nearly 300 outbound links. It took just a few minutes to run the tool, and saved me 30 minutes or more. It also saved me from the carpal tunnel of copying and pasting that many URLs into a spreadsheet.

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Can You Handle Rejection in Link Building?

Link building can be an extremely daunting task. SEOmoz did a poll once asking SEOs what their hardest task was, and link building came out #1 (click View Results). When they asked their readers what they’d like to see more of on the blog, link building again scored high. It’s something everyone seems to struggle with, despite it being such a key part of SEO.

I’ve spoken on a few link building panels at conferences in the past, hoping to inspire new internet marketers in their link efforts. But if I’m not speaking on those panels, I always make sure to sit in on them, as there’s always some nugget of information dropped that I can use. I devour link building articles for the same reason.

Without a doubt, the biggest hurdle I’ve come across in link building is not having good content to get anyone to link to. But once you’ve got that under control, there’s another giant hurdle to leap.

Rejection.

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Will Using AuthorityLabs Penalize Your Domain?

I’ve noticed that a few people are googling ‘authority labs penalised.’ Evidently some are concerned that checking your rankings with us will penalize your positioning within search results. I guarantee that it will not.

IP addresses will get penalized by search engines when they detect an abnormal amount of searches coming from a single IP. When this happens Google, for instance, throws up a CAPTCHA to make sure that humans are actually using their service and not automated rank checking software like WebPosition. A lot of the time poor quality rank checking software can poll search engines too often. They don’t like this because it takes up valuable bandwidth.

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