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What you know about link building is probably wrong

And it’s not your fault.

Here’s the thing: When it comes to marketing your business, there are 2 types of link, not 1 as many people seem to believe!

  1. There’s the type of link you already know about. This is where a website links to your website or blog. This is sometimes called a backlink.
  2. However, there’s another type of link, which is seldom mentioned. This link has just helped me attract a wonderful new client. And it has nothing to do with hyperlinks, link building or backlinks.

In today’s post, I’m going to share how you can make that second type of link work for you and your business. Let’s start with a little clarity.

The type of link you already know about

You’ve been told a million times about the value of getting a link, from a highly respected website to your site. In short, if your site has lots of links pointing to it, especially from high quality websites, it will rank higher on search engine results pages. This kind of link building is the backbone of SEO.

  • It’s why infographics are all over the internet (they usually have link code embedded in them).
  • It’s why people will write guest blog posts for popular websites like The Huffington Post and Forbes, without payment, in return for a link.

Those links are valuable. However, they’re not the only type of link that’s of value to you and your business!

A very different type of link

I was contacted by The Wall Street Journal a while back. Business Editor, Chris Gay, wanted some help with a marketing article. I was happy to contribute. More than anything, I was delighted to have been approached for my expertise, by someone from such a respected publication.

You can read the article here: Four Marketing Strategies That Paid Off for Small Companies.

Yesterday, Grant emailed me. He wants a place on my Marketing Mentor Program. In his email, he explained how he first discovered my work because of the Wall Street Journal article.

Although there are no links pointing to me from that article, he was impressed enough with the idea I shared, that he searched for me. He found me and then subscribed to Jim’s Marketing Blog. Fast forward to this week and he decided he is ready to invest in my services.

That article didn’t have a traditional link to me or my website. Nothing for Google to follow. Nothing for Google to index. Nothing for Grant to click.

However, it DID provide a highly valuable link, which turned Grant from a stranger into a client.

Links and the power of association

Never underestimate the value of having your name or brand positively referenced in an A-List publication, even if they don’t link to your website.

Grant is a Wall Street Journal reader and he trusts what they have to say. Though The Wall Street Journal didn’t say they endorsed me, they did use my work as a positive example of a marketing strategy that paid off. Grant was then able to naturally associate [or link] my name, with the article and the source of the article — The Wall Street Journal.

That kind of link is powerful. Really powerful.

The combination of Grant valuing what I said in the article, with the trust he has for the publication, inspired him to go to Google and find out more about me and my work.

My point here is simple: When your name or brand is positively referenced by a trusted source, people will feel positively about you.

You need to be visible on search

Of course, had I been hard to find, Grant would never have visited my blog and subscribed.

To benefit from having your name mentioned in a publication that doesn’t link to you, you need to be easy to find via search engines. The same is true when you’re mentioned on radio or TV. Naturally, this is where SEO comes in. It’s why lots of good quality backlinks are important.

Grant is based in California and searched Google for Jim Connolly marketing. Anyone doing that search within The U.S. today, will find me listed as the first few search results; (either my blog, Facebook Page or my Twitter account). If people search for you after reading about you, they will have your name and they will almost certainly figure out your industry. Your job is to make sure you’re easy to find when people do that. This is easier for some people than others. You may have a very popular name and work in a huge industry.

I suggest you search for yourself, using your name and a 1 or 2 word industry category. If you’re not happy with what you find, make sure you optimize your website, blog and social networking accounts so you’re visible. If you are not sure how, get expert SEO help. It’s worth it.

Why none of this would have worked without a blog or newsletter

Think about it: When Grant visited my site all that time ago, he wasn’t in need of my services. He was curious. That’s all. Because I write a blog, he was able to subscribe and receive regular email updates.

This means I had a way to maintain regular contact with him, through my posts. It also allowed him to learn my approach to marketing and the value of my ideas.

Note: If Grant had initially found just a website, with no blog or newsletter, I’d have lost him.

Think about that for a moment. This will help!

SEO matters

It really does. And backlinks are essential if you want your SEO to work.

The point of this message is simply that you shouldn’t ignore opportunities to promote yourself online, just because there’s no backlink to your website.

If a highly respected publication asks you to contribute to an article AND they position you as an expert, you will be linked mentally in the mind of their readers, to a publication they trust.

That’s of huge value to you and your business.

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