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Successful link building: context is all
A well-devised and carefully executed link building campaign can boost page rank and enquiry levels, but it can also be time and labour intensive. There are some simple, safe and success-proven short-cuts however.
At the risk of over-simplifying a subject about which, literally, books have been written, all credible search engines share exactly the same primary customer service objective: to deliver relevant information. And by any definition, relevancy is dependent on credibility. I might search for 'fastest cars of all time, for example,' and be directed to a page headed 'Fastest cars of all time', but if it's content focuses exclusively on the Trabant or the Citroen 2CV I may feel a little short changed...
Modern search engines of course use a variety of tools to 'read' and classify content, but they will in addition judge the credibility of a page's content based on how many other credible websites link to it. This helps prevent pages boasting 200mph Trabants from appearing too high in search results.
So how do you convince credible websites to link to your content? SEO specialists will - quite rightly - focus on the importance or featuring high quality content on all of your pages, and on the importance of blogging and of social media in sharing links. All true. A very simple and no less valid technique, however, is to link back to your own website from well-written, relevant content hosted on other credible online sources, such as the RIBA family of websites. The key here is not to repeat the same copy used elsewhere, but to ensure that it is unique to the site in question and tailored to the needs of the audience. Here are some examples:
theNBS.com features sponsored articles on its Home page. Up to 500 words in length, including three images and up to ten web links, these articles provide a platform for any campaign or product launch, tied in with all the benefits of a direct association with the world-renowned NBS brand. theNBS.com attracts an average of 56,000 unique visitors per month*. After being featured exclusively on the Home page for a week each article is then hosted for another three weeks within the appropriate editorial section.
All articles featured in ribaproductselectors.com's monthly alert select are republished on ribaproductselector.com's Home page, boosting select's already impressive audience of 7,000 email recipients (all fully opted-in). Entries can be either 200 or 500 words in length, and feature one to three images, as well as web links.
Both ribacpd.com and the RIBA CPD Showcase are seen by thousands of chartered architects and other construction industry professionals searching for continuing professional development information and materials that will enable them to stay ahead of the competition. Both provide a powerful platform from which RIBA CPD Providers Network members - all of whom have submitted their CPD materials to rigorous assessment and approval prior to publication - can 'showcase' their expertise, with links back to their own website(s).
Last, but certainly not least, the recently launched National BIM Library includes company profiles and details of hundreds (soon thousands) of BIM objects, all linked back to their manufacturers' and suppliers' websites.
Back-links such as these are no substitute for a more comprehensive link-building campaign, but they are an effective - and easy - first step. Many of these opportunities are already freely available to existing subscribers - as part of your existing package of services. So the question is: are you making the most of the web links at your disposal?
* Average taken from July - September 2011
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