How To Use Social Media to Earn Links
by Christian Arno
When used properly, social media can become an integral part of search engine optimization (SEO) by allowing you to build more and better links.
Links to your site can be seen as votes cast by the residents of the World Wide Web. Search engines use the number, quality and freshness of links to add value to your site when they're deciding exactly how important, popular and trusted you are. And, with many 'old school' link-building strategies like directories and buying links now out of favor, social media presents an ideal opportunity to forge new links. Note that we're not talking about links to your social media profiles but to your website, which should serve as a hub for all your online activities.
Here are a few tips that can help you make the most of link building through social media.
Interact early and often
You're not only aiming for links via the posts and content you publish, but also in responses to the content of others. Being in the first five or ten comments or interactions when you respond to someone else's post or blog can really help you get noticed. Also, look out for responses to your responses and build the conversation.
If you take the time to make valuable comments, you are far more likely to get links in this way. Don't just comment that it was a great post or add a 'lol' – you will just be seen as comment fluff. Instead, add constructively to the conversation. If you can come up with an infographic, some new information that is pertinent to the post or even a well-balanced counter-argument, you are far more likely to both be noticed and linked to. The value of your responses is far more important than sheer frequency.
Identify likely link targets
In order to effectively build links you will ideally want to know who is both interested and interesting in your own particular area. Use search and analytical tools to find likely targets. A simple Google site colon search can be used to view all the pages Google has indexed for the site, making it relatively simple to search only for bio pages, for example. You can also search a site for specific keywords using Google rather than any internal search function the site might have. For example, if you wanted to search LinkedIn for mentions of the keyword “global mobility”, you would type “site:linkedin.com global mobility”.
Tools like Followerwonk allow you to add search parameters and to analyze a number of aspects of your Twitter followers, such as social authority scores and the percentage with URLs. Fresh Web Explorer is also handy for finding relevant blogs.
Get your targets' attention
Create content that will get your desired audience to reference or link directly to your site. Make your posts and content informative, entertaining and, above all, valuable. Data-packed, well-researched, fact-based content such as infographics, videos, tutorials, how-to guides and lists are generally more likely to be linked, but opinion pieces can also work.
Earn latent links
The social media is all about sharing and whenever you post quality content, it is likely to be retweeted, liked or shared. The bigger your community or following, the more likely you are to have your content republished, picking up latent links in the process.
Image courtesy of smarnad at FreeDigitalPhotos.net