Few channels are more powerful ways to reach B2B decision makers then search. Search targets decision makers engaged in a buying process - rather than hoping they remember your name after repeated branding exposure.
Don't just take my word for it - according to Marketing Sherpa's survey 2012 B2B survey, marketers found website optimization and search engine optimization the most effective marketing tactics in 2012.
Modern search engines are something like scoreboards of the internet. They crawl the entire internet, and see who's linking to who, who's tweeting about what, how users interact with your site, and much more. Based on that data Bing, Google, Naver, and others use their proprietary algorithms to show you the very best results they can for your query.
Link Development: An Incredibly Important SEO Activity
Even among the mass of 200+ signals that Google and other search engines measure, links are both one of the most important signals and most difficult to create. (It's easy to change a keyword in a page's <title> tag; it's much more difficult to acquire a large number of links from high quality sites.)
So How Do I Get These Links?
You can get great links using a wide variety of techniques. Almost all of them involve reaching out to other high-authority sites, adding value, and asking for a link. Here are five techniques that work particularly well for B2B Marketers:
1. Guest Blogging
Guest blogging is a great way to both build new links to your site and get your brand in front of new people.
One effective approach is to reach out to bloggers in related niches - for example, if you sold time tracking software, blogs for freelancers, designers, independent lawyers, and other professionals that billed hourly would make great homes for your guest blog.
The other key tip for guest blogging is don't be overly promotional - be helpful and offer your audience something valuable.
When you write a guest blog, you can typically get a link back to your site in the author bio footer or in the content itself. Links in the content send more traffic - but you must be careful to send readers to something helpful, rather than a conversion-oriented landing page. Always think about delighting the readers of the blog, rather than promoting yourself.
To find guest blogging opportunities, start by asking your customers what blogs they read. Post on those blogs if you can. Many larger blogs, like Mashable or Social Media Examiner, ask to see a portfolio of successful blog posts, so you may have to start on some smaller blogs and work up to the big leagues.
2. Link Building With Partnerships
Regardless of what kind of B2B company you're marketing, you're part of a broader ecosystem. If you have partners, distributors, franchisees, VARs, SIs, ISVs, or any other type of partner, they should be linking to you.
Grab a list of your partners, and then grab a list of your inbound links from a link graph tool like Open Site Explorer, MajesticSEO, or aHREFs. Then compare your lists - do you have partners that aren't linking to you? If you do, reach out to them (or make arrangements for your partners/BD person to reach out to them) and ask for a link to your site.
3. Blog Syndication
If you have a blog, you have a tremendous linkable asset. There are many sites that will allow you to syndicate your blog on their site, gaining you links and getting your blog content out to a larger audience. (If you've implemented SEO best practices on a great blog, this can be a really effective strategy.)
There are a few horizontal blog aggregators (like AllTop) that you can submit to, but there's lots more that cover your vertical specifically. To find blog aggregators and submission opportunities, you can use special queries in Google.
If I had an accounting software company with a blog about being a really effective accountant using technology, I might use some queries like:
- "Submit Your Blog" "Accounting"
- "Submit Your RSS Feed" "Accounting"
- "Add Your Blog" "Accounting"
You can do these queries manually (I recommend using the Scraper Chrome Extension to pull all the results into a spreadsheet) or use a tool like Citation Labs Link Prospector to find opportunities at scale.
4. Curated Lists
Many people maintain lists of companies & vendors in certain spaces, like this list of statistical software vendors or this list of social media monitoring vendors. These lists are frequently curated by trusted individuals, like librarians or industry analysts. And because of this curation, these lists are trusted by both Google and human visitors.
Typically if your company belongs on these lists, inclusion only takes a quick email to the curator. But sourcing the lists can be a challenge. You can use Google searches with particular operators.
To find these lists for our mythical accounting software company, I might use a Google query like
- 'Accounting Software "List of"'
- 'Accounting Software Vendors "Links to"'
Alternatively, you can use the 'Resources and Links' page query in Citation Labs Link Prospector to source a large number of prospects rapidly.
5. Logo Galleries
While not all companies have blogs, apps, or other assets, just about every company has a logo. There are logo submission galleries - websites that feature aesthetically pleasing logos, and link back to the corresponding website. Some of the logo galleries you should submit your logo to are: - logofury.com - logofaves.com - logospire.com - logopond.com - thelogomix.com
These are just five of the many link development strategies you can employ for your site.
Happy link building, and if you have any questions, tips, or tactics, please share them in the comments.
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