Link building is always a hot topic in SEO, with Google regularly updating which links are ok or not and opinions flying around left, right and centre about what constitutes a ‘good’ link. Matt Cutts recently declared that guest blogging is done only to qualify his statement later that it is only when done in a spammy way, further confusing webmasters who simply want to follow the rules and try and promote their website as best possible. I have spoken the many website owners who are now truly confused about what they can and can’t do.
The reality is that guest blogging has gone the same way as many link ‘types’ because the SEO industry has taken it and turned it from a useful approach to something seedy by doing it in a spammy way. Guest blogging remains a valuable way of developing the visibility of your website and company if done in the right way. Below are 3 other types of link that you can and should be using to help grow the exposure of your website online which can also correspondingly help your performance in search engines:
There are a wealth of forums out there where you can turn up, create a profile and put your spammy keyword rich links in your byline. But that’s not the kind of link you want pointing to your site. Instead, you want to look at forums as a great place where people in your industry are researching and discussing relevant information related to your product.
In travel it’s easy to find niche forums where people are discussing their holiday ideas and you can use this as an opportunity to help them with your expertise. From TripAdvisor to Lonely Planet’s Thorntree holidaymakers are reaching out for your experience in travel forums everywhere. Take part in the conversation, offer tips and advise on the topics people are asking about and even include links to your content where appropriate. Those links will drive good quality traffic to your site and could also lead to secondary links from blogs etc which will help push your performance in search engines forward. Nothing spammy about that.
Commenting is another ‘tactic’ which will scream SPAM in the context of an SEO campaign. However, when done in a relevant and constructive way comments can drive valuable traffic to your site. If you are a destination specialist then seeking out the top bloggers who write about your destination and being an active commenter on their blog is a great way to build awareness of your website and develop relationships with influencers in your space.
Once the relationship has been established and you’ve been a regular commenter for a while then it can also be a great segway into contributing some content of your own to the site or working with the blogger in a more strategic way to increase your exposure further. Links from that kind of content are extremely valuable, as are the comment links which help balance your link profile and show you are active socially in your community.
The curse of directories! Never submit to them again they said! Whilst it’s true that a large portion of directories have lost their value (and rightly so), there are still some great niche and local directories out there which have the potential to drive high quality traffic to your site. As well as the behemoths like Best of the Web and the Yahoo directory, there are still many niche travel directories out there which get a lot of traffic and people use to find good travel resources. Likewise, if your business is specific to a particular area then local directories are a great place to submit to (whether its in your base country or a destination you specialise in).
Link building is always going to be a slightly dirty word in the SEO industry, but if you carry out these kind of approaches in the right way, with the focus on increasing your brand’s visibility in influential places, then it can be a very effective way of growing your business.