5 Unique Ways to Get Backlinks to Your Website

Today’s guest post is from Sarah Boisvert, who is an author who writes on a wide range of topics from small business to investing to high technology. She also covers social media and has written profiles of Bill Gates, Steve Wynn, and Chuck Hull.
Spider web image for 5 Unique Ways to Get Backlinks to Your Websites

Backlinks help readers find your website in the tangle of the Web! [Photo credit: Tina Phillips via FreeDigitalPhotos.com]

In this Internet age, websites are key to selling every product and service from books to videos and speaking engagements to webinars. But having a website is just the beginning. To get potential customers to find your specific website in the tangle of the Web requires having a high page rank for your keywords in search engines like Google.

Search algorithms increasingly rely upon backlinks to evaluate content strength. The logic goes that if a website is mentioned with a hyperlink to it on another website, then the content must be valuable to readers.

Knowing this, some webmasters went overboard creating links to hundreds of sites. Many of these backlinks also had no relationship to the subject matter or were connected to sites that bordered on spam.

Google responded to these tactics intended to “fool” the system, of course, and now includes relevance of subject matter in their algorithms. Consequently, backlinks of good quality are essential to driving more traffic to your website.

While it takes a little more effort now to get good backlinks, there are many unique ways to be sure your website stays within Google guidelines. Here are some tips to get you started.

Partner with Smaller Vendors

Large vendors like Amazon have established backlink programs for authors and product suppliers, but don’t ignore the smaller outlets. Get a list from your distributor of stores that carry your books and contact the manager or owner about backlinks. Organizations that hire you to speak are also a good source of backlinks. Of course, you’ll need to reciprocate and link back to these vendors on your website, but that is just good business for everyone.

Befriend Bloggers

Bloggers are always searching for new topics for blog posts. By searching for top bloggers in your subject area, you can build a list of potential websites for backlinks.

Perhaps they could include a book or podcast review, an interview before an upcoming book signing or speech, or a general interest story. This provides an opportunity for the blog to link to your website. As before, you need to be a good member of the online community and reciprocate. You can do something simple like create a page of News and Reviews with links and a brief description.

Twitter logo used in 5 Unique Ways to Get Backlinks to Your Website

Twitter is filled with media writers and bloggers [Image credit: Twitter]

Social Media

Twitter is a great social media platform for finding writers and bloggers who might be interested in reciprocal links. The Twitterverse is full of media types from national, local and international news agencies as well as bloggers covering everything you can imagine. Search for some keywords from your field and create lists of the writers you find.

There are rules of etiquette that accompany being a good member of the community. First, you’ll need to engage with the writers or bloggers, getting to know them in Cyberspace. Once you’ve established credibility and demonstrated that you’re not a spammer, you can ask for a backlink. Most Tweeters who “know” you are happy to comply.

Trade Associations and Other Organizations

Trade associations or other organizations are always happy to promote members. Often they will publish news about individual members or business and corporate members and include a backlink. This is true for every type of group from your local Chamber of Commerce to the national alumni association of your college alma mater. Get to know the membership director or IT specialist to see what kinds of backlinks they can provide.

Don’t Forget Fans or User Groups

It goes without saying that fans are always willing to help out since they are happy customers who want you to succeed. Reach out through your database or blog, but again, you don’t want to be a spammer! Limit the number of requests and, if possible, offer an incentive such as a small gift card or a promotional item.

Working on backlinks has an additional benefit beyond search engine optimization. You’ll be interacting more with the world, and it’s through being visible that good PR opportunities also arise. Following these five tips, you’ll be sure to increase sales of all your products and services through a variety of channels.

Testimonials Are Music to a Brand’s Ears

5-star-rating for Aleweb Social MarketingWe hear it all the time. Word-of-mouth referrals are a brand’s bread-and-butter.

No amount of traditional or social marketing can equal the power of a friend who recommends a product, service, book or experience.

Today is the start of the new week. You may own your own business and look for these longed-for referrals, but how do you get them?

Have you ever heard the adage “It is better to give than receive?” When it comes to referrals and endorsements, this rule holds true.

You can ask friends and close acquaintances to endorse your product or service, but after a while you’ll run out of people to ask.

As JFK was quoted as saying “…ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Or in this case “ask not who can recommend your business, but whose business you can recommend.”

Think over the past week.

Who have you interacted with? Where did you go to lunch? When you took your teenager to the mall, which stores did you go to? What book couldn’t you put down? Whose advice and support has been crucial to your own success?

I challenge you to come up with one thing each week for the next two months that you want to recommend to your friends. It can be a business that provided excellent customer service, an enjoyable experience, or that went out of their way to make your buying experience exceptional. Or it can be a book, play, concert, or any other experience that you loved.

Why two months?

I want you to establish the habit of looking for people and experiences you can appreciate. Enjoy that feeling. Appreciate the sense of gratitude. Pass it forward. Catch people “in the act of getting it right,” and let them know you’ve noticed.

It will change you too.

Being more focused on showing your appreciation for others will take the pressure off trying to get people to appreciate your brand too. You’ll internalize what you’re learning from brands that “do it right” and potentially improve what you’re doing as well.

Regardless, in giving, you will receive. And don’t be surprised if you start to see your own client testimonials increase as well.

So… Have you thought of someone for this past week?

Go ahead and think of one. We’ll wait for you…

Have it now?

Alright… Here’s the easy part. Go find that brand online. It doesn’t matter if it’s on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Angie’s List, Instagram, Google, their website or wherever else you feel comfortable. Just find their listing and post a review.

What should your review look like?

Write it as if you’re talking to your best friend. Tell them about your experience and what made it so special.

Businesses hear often when they’ve done something wrong. Give them a boost. Let them know when they’ve done something right so they can do it more often!

Wherever you posted that endorsement, share it with your friends.

People like to buy from brands they know, like and trust. Your recommendation tells your friends who you know, like and trust, and exactly why. And perhaps that experience is exactly what they were looking for too!

Share a link in the comments below to a brand that made you feel special recently and let us know how they did it.

The Best Social Media Platform for Business

I’ve been asked many times before, “What’s your favorite social media platform for business?”

Many people think that if you’re in business, LinkedIn is the only place to be, and while LinkedIn has its many benefits and is a strong contender in my social media platform, my answer may be surprising to you.

My favorite social media platform, hands down, is Twitter.

I know. I know. I hear it all the time. You’re thinking “What? Twitter? I just don’t get all that tweeting stuff. All it is is stuff about what everyone had for breakfast!”

That’s where I’d jump up and down, pointing my finger at you and shouting “Wrong!” Well, maybe not so much jumping up and down… And probably not shouting. (It’s not my style.) I have no idea why I’d point a finger either…

But you’re definitely wrong. Sorry!

As simple as the site is, Twitter is the most powerful tool in my social media arsenal.

The Best Social Media Platform for Business

twitter

When I found out in 2009 that I was soon to be unemployed, Twitter was where my job search took root. It was where I was first exposed to the power of hashtags to find and sort content being shared on the internet.

I was a bit nervous at first about using Twitter. Was everyone a scam artist?

Then, I came across Steve Keating (@LeadToday) on Twitter. For some reason, his simple reassurance in his bio that he wasn’t selling anything on Twitter, only giving back, set my heart at ease. I started engaging with him a bit, and enjoying his nonsensical animal trivia on Saturday mornings. It reminded me of a book my kids and I enjoyed called 365 Days of Nature and Discovery: Things to Do and Learn for the Whole Family.

Our shared interest in leadership topics led me to discover the Lead Change Group (@leadchange and #leadchange) shortly after their Leader UnPalooza in early 2010, which sounded like a lot of fun. I struck up a friendship with Mike Henry Sr. (@mikehenrysr), the founder of the group, which led me to discover and make connections with many of the founding members of the Lead Change Group.

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Why Social Media Won’t Go Away

When home computers first came out, the general sentiment of many “experts” was that they would never catch on. Similar sentiments were expressed when the Internet started, and when e-mail was introduced into corporate life

There will always be naysayers when any significant change comes along that impacts the way we do business. But can you imagine your life today without computers? The Internet? E-mail? (I know some of us would like to imagine life without e-mail, but I know very few people who have managed to do away with it in their lives completely!)

The same is true of social media. It’s not just a fad. It’s not going away. And ignoring it won’t help!

How and Why Social Media Won’t Go Away

Social media is all about relationships. As with any relationship, it can have a different context for each connection. There are some people I’m friendly with, others I buy from, I have best friends, a support network, people I ask advice of and collaborate with, and others I learn from. That’s “in the real world,” but it’s true also on social media.

One of my books, The Character-Based Leader, was written with people I met on Twitter. I share ideas with other authors and entrepreneurs, and talk about social media with clients and prospects on Facebook. I have been hired multiple times for speaking engagements and project work by people who found me on LinkedIn and on my blog. Slideshare helps establish my expertise as hundreds of people have viewed my content, and hundreds more follow my Pinterest boards.

socialmedia

Word of mouth marketing is the most powerful form of marketing there is, and much of it takes place on the Internet these days.

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LinkedIn for Authors

Every professional should be using LinkedIn, and that goes for writers too. LinkedIn is the online equivalent of real-world networking. As such, it can be used in much the same way. However, LinkedIn goes beyond just meeting new people, and participating in “getting to know you” conversations and lead generating “dance cards.”

LinkedIn for Authors

Here are a few reasons why you want to be on LinkedIn:

  • Links: Links from LinkedIn to your online content count in the Google search algorithm, whereas Facebook links don’t.
  • Credibility: Since LinkedIn is a site for business professionals, there is an air of credibility that having a well-ranking profile within LinkedIn grants you.
  • Research: LinkedIn’s search functions enable you to identify agents, publishers and editors in the areas you want to get into. In addition, though, it also shows you who your mutual connections are, shared interests, and other commonalities between you that enable you to craft an introductory message that breaks the ice, instead of being just another nameless face in the crowd.
  • Connections: The opposite is also true. People who are looking for what you do can find you via LinkedIn’s search functionality, but only when you have a great profile (otherwise, all of the other better profiles outrank you in LinkedIn’s search result – don’t neglect building a strong profile). I have had a number of clients and booking agents find and subsequently hire me due to LinkedIn.

It all comes down to how you use the site, and how strong a profile you have.

aleweb social marketing, tara r. alemany, linkedin for authors, all-star linkedin profile, professional writer, offer sample chapter, how can authors use linkedin, how writers use linkedin

So, how do you create a strong LinkedIn profile?

Want step-by-step video instructions to improve your LinkedIn profile? Check out our LinkedIn Mastery course on “Creating an Awesome Profile!

Follow these simple steps to create and use an All-Star author’s LinkedIn profile. [Tweet]

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What’s Your Social Media Foundation?

Pam Moore - Marketing NutPam Moore at Marketing Nut published a blog post last week entitled “My Promise to You Social Media Friends.” In it, she related how the recent passing of her Granny made her reflect on how thankful she is for the relationships in her life, including those with her blog readers and social media friends.

She concludes the piece with a very revealing set of questions. I wonder how many of us ever truly consider them as we tweet, share, post and blog. They are:

What is your foundation for social media? What are your beliefs? What promises are you living or do you need to make to your social media friends?

If you’ve ever written a business or marketing plan, the answers to these questions should be a part of it. And those answers should be consistent with how you implement and use your social media accounts.

For me, both my company and my online interactions are guided by a biblical passage found in Ephesians 4:29.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

I believe that everyone of us has unique gifts and abilities. When we use our gifts to contribute to the world around us, the world becomes a better place to live in.

My particular gift is to take complex ideas and communicate them in ways that are easy to understand. I did that for over 20 years as a technical writer and trainer. I’m doing it now as a speaker and consultant. And that is why this blog will always be used to educate my readers, providing you with useful information that builds up your ability to market your product or service online.

I wholeheartedly believe in the old Chinese proverb:

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

I know that a lot of my readers are do-it-yourself-type people, whether by nature or due to financial constraints. While Aleweb is here to serve your social marketing needs, we will always have a firm commitment to teaching you how to fish as well.

So, to echo Pam’s questions… What is your foundation for social media? What are your beliefs? What promises are you living or do you need to make to your social media friends? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

Happiness, Joy and Big Fat Klout Scores Indeed!

joyful rodent Pictures, Images and Photos

Photo courtesy of Photobucket user l5gcw0b

A friend of my mine shared a link to an article on Facebook this morning. The title caught my attention. “Happiness, joy and big fat Klout scores.” Hmm…  I had to click on the link and see what that was about. (If you’re still with me at this point, can you wait until you’ve finished reading this post before abandoning it to go read that one? Or at least come back here when you’re done? Thanks!  :-))

The author, Mark Schaefer, makes a very good point, and it’s well worth reading in his own words, even though the post is almost a year old now. The message is still timely.

Are you using social media to create happiness, joy or a big fat Klout score? These are three major distinctions, and your purpose has a lasting affect on how useful your marketing will be.

Let’s look first at the Klout score, because I know so many people like to see how they can manipulate that score and others like them (Kred, PeerIndex, etc.). Your Klout score is based on an algorithm that looks at how influential your social media presence is. It’s not a bad thing to be aware of to see if your strategy is accomplishing what you’d hoped it would. But I see it as a yardstick to measure effectiveness, not as a goal to be achieved. No one is ever going to praise you at your funeral for that awesome Klout score you had.

The next one we’ll tackle is happiness. Everyone would agree, happiness is a good thing to share within your social networks. Just to be clear though, as Mark puts it:

… There is a difference between happiness and joy.  You can be happy about a hamburger.  You can be happy about a song. Happiness is temporary.  Joy is peace.

Within your social marketing strategy, happiness would be offering that free sample of your book, or a discount code for your product or services. It’s a temporary thing that people are happy to share with their friends and connections, but it has no lasting effect.

If the purpose of your social marketing is to create “happy customers,” you’ll be engaged in a constant quest to find that next thing that will spark them to action and brighten their day. Offering them the same thing repeatedly will eventually lose its charm and appeal.

However, when you understand the reason for the journey you, personally, are on, and the difference you want to make in the world around you, you understand your why. It becomes easier to make business decisions because you have something to navigate by.

I recently had the opportunity to speak on a topic that I have the knowledge and skill to speak on, but it’s not part of what I’m trying to accomplish with my life and my business right now. When I was still unclear about my why, I would have taken the speaking opportunity even though it was a bit in left-field. Yet, now I could see that it wasn’t relevant to what I’m working to accomplish. I was able to offer up another topic that was in alignment with my purposes, and that was suitable for the audience. It worked out incredibly well. However, even if the speaking engagement had fallen through, it would have been alright because I wasn’t chasing down a rabbit trail that distracted me from my purpose.

When you know your why, you feel joy in your work and it’s reflected in your social media activities. Joy is lasting. It’s contagious even! When you are joy-filled, others want to be around you, and they want to learn why you are the way you are.

It’s often said, “People don’t remember what you say, but how you made them feel.” When you engage in your social marketing activities with joy, people that want what you have naturally start appearing. The message spreads, not because of what you’ve said, but because of how you’ve made them feel. No discount coupon or Klout score is ever going to accomplish that for you.

 

So, what’s your WHY? What energizes you about what you do, and makes you ready to get up each day to tackle it again? Share it below. We’d love to hear about it.

Book Review: Social Media Judo

Social Media Judo coverWhen I was offered the opportunity to review a book entitled “Social Media Judo” by Chris Aarons, Geoff Nelson, Nick White and Dan Zehr, I jumped at the chance. I was informed that the book was written by Ivy Worldwide, an award-winning agency for effectiveness, and revealed the secrets to revenue-driving social media campaigns.

Any effective social marketer knows that this is more than just collecting friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter. There’s a real art and style that goes into effectively marketing on the internet, and cutting through the clutter of videos, social networks, blogs and more that clamor for the attention of a prospective consumer.

The book promised to give a deep insight into how top worldwide brands (such as HP, Lenovo, Microsoft) are having success with social media and how they are using it to drive sales and revenue. As a martial artist and a student of social marketing myself, I loved the idea of blending the philosophy and mindset of martial arts with the mechanics of word-of-mouth marketing to generate real results.

The style of martial arts that I study is a Korean form called Tang Soo Do (most closely related to Tae Kwon Do, and the same style that Chuck Norris studied prior to founding Chun Kuk Do). In it, there are 7 tenets that we highly value: Integrity, Concentration, Perseverance, Respect & Obedience, Self-Control, Humility, and Indomitable Spirit. As I waited for my copy of the book to arrive, I thought perhaps these were some of the topics that would be touched upon.

Instead, Social Media Judo focused on four, just-as-important pillars to judo and the philosophy of social marketing.

  1. Minimum effort and maximum efficiency – Tapping into the network of key influencers already in place to use their existing momentum to help spread your message.
  2. Mutual benefit – Crafting programs that generate a strong return for the company by also provide an equally beneficial outcome for the influences and partners with whom you work.
  3. Etiquette – Creating personal relationships with online content producers and influencers, rather than merely trying to exploit them when you need them.
  4. Physical education – Building a bridge between philosophy and practice. The judo mindset challenges the ways you think about and interact with your key influences, both on- and offline.

The book demonstrates, through real-world examples, how important it is to master the philosophy as well as the mechanics of these techniques. As the authors point out, “You can’t merely mimic the moves of a judo expert and expect to become a great fighter.”

As you read through the book, it also covers the importance of falling, and the view of it that students must learn to adopt in order to adapt. By learning about how to fall properly, companies can overcome their fear of failing with social media, and derive lessons from the experience that enable them to see the upside that’s possible, even in the risk of the downside. When these risks are mitigated through traditional marketing efforts and effective planning, the potential that exists is huge for any company! You’ll also learn the basics of marketing, along with strategies to maintain the balance between “going with the flow” and keeping your message intact.

Each of the examples that are given, and the analysis that goes into why they worked or didn’t work, is invaluable. By studying them, marketers can begin to develop their own plans to increase sales, cut marketing costs, and boost engagement, all while paying for themselves with real revenue!

If I had any real criticism of the book to offer, it’s that it neglects social networks beyond blogging. But the thought there is that it gives your key influences a larger platform that can ultimately be promoted using other social networks. So, they become a means to an end, instead of the destination themselves.

Overall, the book is well-written and useful! There’s something in it for both novice marketers and more experienced individuals, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you get something more out of it on subsequent readings. It’s definitely a book I’m happy to add to my Social Marketing bookshelf!