- Because you have something interesting to say
- Because I like your perspective on events relative to my industry
- Because I hate your perspective on events relative to my industry
- Because you have a great tool on your website that makes my life easier
- Because you have compiled a great list of resources to make my life easier
- Because you have the answer to a question I was asking or answering recently
- Because you stroke my ego juuuuust right
- Because we’re friends
- Because you add a human element to an otherwise dry subject
- Because you’re making it about “me”, not “you”
There are projects where people ask me to get them great search engine rankings. They tell me about what they do and we both get excited about their prospects.
I then ask them about why people would link to their site. “Give me 10 reasons website owners would take time out of their day, risking their reputation and possible business to send people to your website…”
I then get the equivalent of “Hey Matt, what’s that over your shoulder?”
I look… I always look, and when I turn back around, my new best friend has disappeared.
There are No Magic Beans
I can tell you this out of first-hand experience. I started learning about search engine optimization when marketing my own business and I’ve looked for every possible way to beg, borrow, and steal top search engine rankings.
I’ve read oodles of blog posts, numerous books, and my hard drive is packed with pdfs. I’ve looked for the secrets of the masters and come back to the same spot every time. Other than shady automated link building that is erased by Google’s algorithms every year or so, there are no secrets to getting people to link to us.
What do we notice about the list at the beginning of this article? Each item involved a person or business offering unique services to the Internet community. Some people find ways to turn this one-on-one process of forming a relationship between webmasters into a systematic process which is called good public relations.
I challenge you to take the reigns of your business’ online presence. A cohesive strategy to make your company useful and unique will get you more sales much faster than a couple thousand bucks paid to a well-intentioned young link builder. In defining a “cohesive strategy,” let’s throw out all the cryptic and clever slogans and new font sizes and look deeper at our 10 reasons people link to us.
- Because you have something interesting to say – Is there a different perspective you have on something? Take the risk of telling people about these ideas. Build credibility in the online marketplace. Even if you don’t sell products online, indirect opportunities for income abound for those whose name is synonymous with an industry or solution.
- Because I like your perspective on events relative to my industry – Every industry has their insiders… the deal-makers who control much of the mindshare of the industry. Even if we are not as clever as these folks, we can talk about the people and events. Look at sports commentators. There is usually a color commentator who has all the insight into the game. Then, there is the play-by-play announcer. While this person has knowledge about the game, it is their passion for the game that gets them face time with the public. Get passionate, and get “face time” with your public.
- Because I hate your perspective on events relative to my industry – Some people gain notoriety by being a jerk. I have been both lauded and criticized for my marketing techniques. I much prefer the former, though my mistakes were out of naivetÃƒÂ©. The long-term value of negative marketing or publicity is dubious at best, so I strongly caution against intentional use as a marketing tool. There are ways though, to turn those lemons of negative publicity into lemonade. We can take the “lemon” of a jerk dead-set against our company by getting a link from their website and the curiosity-seekers that follow it. We can also take the “lemon” of a disgruntled customer by addressing their concern and becoming a better company to future customers.
- Because you have a great tool on your website that makes my life easier – Every industry has research or calculations that could be made easier online. Home lending sites have mortgage calculators, SEO sites have bajillion of analytical tools, and I recently bought bolts from a web site that had printable sheets to measure and identify your hard-to-find bolts. The list goes on. What slows your customers down? Can you make this tool? No? Can you pay some sharp programmer from Eastern Europe or Asia to create this tool for you?
- Because you compiled a great list of resources that make my life easier – I watch my wife navigate the Internet now and then so I can see how those who don’t work with the Internet for a living find what they need. The answer is, “Slowly, and with some difficulty.” 🙂 Search engine results are not always the best source of answers for our questions. While Google, Yahoo, and the others are getting better, there are still websites cluttering the top spots with garbage. For this reason, everyone has a few sites related to what they really enjoy that contains links to great resources. I could rattle off the list right now – I bet you could with yours, too. Be bold in linking out to great resources. Don’t just bury them on a links page either. Be generous with your links and people will both reward you by coming back, and you may even get a link or two out of it.
- Because you have the answer to a question I was asking or answering recently – What problems do people have? Look in online forums related to your website, or simply ask your customers. Give them answers to those problems. Hopefully your product can fit into the solution in a tasteful manner. Be in it for the long-haul. Unless we are in a position of power by being in a “panic” industry (like a plumber), it may take a few questions before the opportunity arises for the sale.
- Because you stroke my ego juuuuust right – I can’t take a compliment from my friends or family, but I love it when someone kisses my posterior via the web. I’ll write a whole darn article around that absolutely handsome genious. 🙂 Write about those who influence your industry and find a subtle way to let them know that you did. It’s easy with blogs, because you can just trackback their post. If you’re not using a blog, subtlety is more difficult, but it can be done with class.
- Because we’re friends – We need to be making friends within our related industries. These relationships can lead large business deals that fill both pockets with cash. They also can lead to smaller-level joint ventures called links. A webmaster links to our website which may send us some of his traffic in exchange for some perceived value to their visitor. Sometimes this value is just our friendship and wanting to see us succeed. These friendships can also lead to more significant joint venture opportunities where we may build our customer base via our mailing list and offer increased revenue in the form of back-end products. If we have more backend products than our competitors, we can wear them out marketing on the front-end.
- Because you add a human element to an otherwise dry subject – I potential client sent us an article about combustion engines that may be able to run on water someday. Normally few people would have seen this article because it would be in some tech journal, but the local news picked it up because some guy was trying to build a automobile engine that would do this. Just about everyone watches gas prices, so as Emeril would say… “BAM!” There’s your human interest story.
- Because you’re talking about “me”, not “you” – Take the “Me vs You” test. Count up all the times that “I”, “Me”, “Us”, “Our”, etc. is used on a page. Now look for “You”, “Your”, “Yours”, etc. on the page. Compare those numbers side-by-side. Which side is winning? So many companies fail this one miserably. They forget the purpose for having a website. A website is supposed to be a salesperson that works 24×7 to make us more money. If your product is not easily sold online due to logistics, price, or other reasons, the website is supposed to move the person into the sales process, or move them further along in the sales process. What is the best advice often given to salespeople? Listen! It’s hard to listen when we’re talking about ourselves, assuming we already know the answer to the visitor’s problem. Use the website to find out what people are looking for. What is their question? Next, get them moving in the direction by which you can help them… and get their contact information
- valuable to the customer
- better than our competition
Do you have other reasons that we should link to you? Put them in the comments below, and if I add them to this article, I actually will link to you from the bottom of this very post.
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