Want better website traffic?

Getting by in search engine rankings with a little help from your friends

Let’s assume your organization has already gone through the initial steps of optimizing your website and online content for improved performance in organic (free) search. (If you haven’t gone through this process, visit for my series of articles on the topic.)

Now you’re ready to move into a more advanced arena of search engine optimization: quality inbound link building. What we’re referring to is the practice of developing relationships, virtual and in-person, with others who can vouch for the quality of your work or your content.

There are many benefits of quality inbound link building, namely that prospective customers will be pushed toward your website from sources they trust, and the more quality inbound links your website has pointing to it, the better it may perform in search engine rankings for related topics.

Here are a few great ways to start building your inbound links:

The low-hanging fruit: Chances are you probably already have at least a few mentions of your organization on other websites, including Google Maps and other local listings and all of the social media profiles for your company and each of your employees. Often, the profiles are not linking directly to your website, or you’re not using the right keywords in your links or profile descriptions or not taking full advantage of the space available (adding photos and videos, multiple links to key pages or articles). Doing an audit of these listings is the easiest way to start building your quality inbound links and driving relevant traffic and search engines to your website.

Work with partners: Guest blogging is a great way to get your content in front of an entirely new audience while also building strong inbound links and improving relationships with key partners. Think about who in your network matches you can reach out to to see if they would be interested in publishing and promoting your content on their website, while linking back to your website. Most organizations would be happy to have content created for them, and also would love to share their blogs with your audience.

Offer some free valuable content: Has your organization done research on a topic that others would find beneficial to promote? Post it to your blog and share the link directly with anyone you think would benefit by sharing this information to his or her own audience. Your organization, as the creator of this report, becomes the known expert on the topic and the source of new inbound links leading to your website for more information. And what you will find is that years after publishing a great article, you’ll still receive new links to it and new traffic as a result.

Make them ask: Do you donate time to nonprofit organizations, speak at events and seminars or sponsor events? Be sure to ask whether the organizations you are working with or supporting can include a link to your website.

Push your content: Do you have great PowerPoint presentations that are just begging to be shared with prospective new clients? Have you written excellent blog posts and articles? Now is the time to push that content out to relevant sites and allow others to share it for you. Upload PowerPoints to SlideShare and use keyword-rich titles and descriptions to help others find them easily. Share videos through Vimeo, and articles, case studies and guides can be shared with relevant LinkedIn discussion groups. And use hashtags on Twitter to tie them into conversations with like-minded users. Submit how-to guides and relevant case studies to targeted media outlets to promote publishing of your content. All of this activity will enhance your quantity and quality of inbound links related to the topics you’ve focused on.

Public relations: Enlist the help of a PR professional or agency to help you develop and distribute articles that the media would be interested in publishing. Be sure to stay on topic for the keywords you want to become known for, and include a link to your website within your byline. If readers find the article helpful and promote it through their own blogs and online marketing channels, this will multiply the inbound links leading to your website, and you’ll align yourself with a trusted media partner.

Melissa Albano-Davis, principal of Grapevine Marketing, can be reached at 603-685-4782, ext. 101 or grapevinemktg.com.

Categories: Marketing & Advertising