The Holy Grail of SEO – A Winning Link Baiting Strategy
As much as Google’s algorithm has evolved over the years, it is still backlinks to your site that generates your site’s ranking and ultimately your web traffic. The most difficult task in search engine optimization though is link building. You need links on other websites pointing to your website, yet not many other website owners want to link to your site, especially if you’re just another humdrum real estate agent with nothing to differentiate you and demonstrate your value proposition.
To get bloggers, other real estate agents, website owners, journalists, and facebook enthusiasts to link to your site, you’ll need to generate some timely, valuable or buzzworthy content – information or other content to share with them. You’ll need time and a creative strategy to embark on your new link baiting program. Link baiting is the term used to describe how you’ll lure visitors to your site(s) and get them to talk about you and link to your site(s).
Link Baiting is going to get you thinking creatively and seriously about your unique value proposition and how you can differentiate your brand image. This is a useful exercise from many angles. It could end up being a lot of fun too.
Gimmicky Link Baiting: When SEO and other online marketers talk about successful link baiting strategies, they often talk about campaigns that were kind of gimmicky. For example, one marketing company used videos of an electric household blender where they blended just about any object they could find. Another put just anything they could find into a microwave oven and watched it melt, spark or explode. Not particularly effective from a branding perspective since it was kind of juvenile. However, it did get a lot of people linking to their client’s sites and they were said to have generated a good ranking boost in Google search results. If a realtor or other small business person used these tactics, it would damage their professional image.
To start your link baiting strategy, you need a goal — and the goal is to get others to share your news or content with others. If you can target only real estate related industry, that’s great, but you may want to broaden your scope to include home, house and garden, economy, and other related topics. Other agents are not likely willing to link to your site so it might not be wise to limit your strategy to real estate sites.
First of all, THINK BIG because this opens up your mind to your larger goals and the scope of what you might do. Then, pretend you’re selling another type of service or product (let’s say shoes, golf balls, cell phones, new car, etc) because that will get you thinking about the process of creative idea generation and link baiting. If you just think about real estate, you’re going to be stuck inside the box in your overly familiar business. You need to get outside the box so you can brainstorm creatively in a realm where you have no preconceptions. Freeing up your creative mind is job number one.
You need interesting, stimulative, and engaging content ideas.
Here’s a List of Linking Baiting Tactics:
- breaking news stories
- a great offer or promotional discount
- unusual or controversial news story or opinion
- upcoming events
- vital market insight
- a branded MLS mobile app
- sending your buzzworthy news item or article to popular bloggers/journalists
- an interesting video (such as the most lavish expensive home in your city)
- offer a video or graphic that people can use on their websites and tell them to talk about it
- put social sharing buttons (Twitter/Facebook/Linkedin) on your articles/news story
- controversial views on local or state politicians and their stand on real estate development
- discuss new real estate developments and benefit or harm they might produce
- Interview someone important in the industry
- run a contest
- detailed article/section on your website covering the lifestyle of your community
- create a new acronym for something in your industry
- commenting on other people’s blogs and announcing your great content (not comment spamming)
Just as in advertising, you need to find something specific that gets people’s attention and pulls them to your site. The hook grabs readers so it might be humorous, controversial, ironic, shocking, or confounding. Whether people respond to your content or article can come down to one or two specific things — whether it is sympathetic to their views or in opposition to their views. it stimulates an emotion or a problem and now they’ve got to find a way to solve it – mentally and emotionally.
Some of the Challenges of Link Baiting Campaigns – Twitter Undercuts your Buzzworthiness
Viral Link Baiting
Yes, going viral is a great goal. Social media by its very nature is about sharing, so if you can create something good, it can get spread around the social world like wildfire. You’ll need to create a Facebook page, Twitter Account, Youtube account and other social media pages to broaden your sharing ability and to be seen as relevant to social sharers. You need to be one of them.
Viral Marketing and Link Baiting
Some say viral marketing and link baiting are 2 different things. Viral marketing is meant to spread a brand friendly message whereas link baiting is after a web link ultimately. At the end of your link bait strategy is a request or push to have readers link to your target web page. Viral marketing is therefore more open-ended I guess, whereas link baiting is specific and not necessarily brand friendly. That’s why many link baiting marketers use a separate website as their target. Creating a separate microsite for your link baiting might be a good idea, such as your Youtube channel. In fact you might want to target all of your web sites and then link to your main real estate website.
One of the best viral techniques going today is the mobile app for iphones, androids and ipads. An app that can present mls listings to mobile users is great, but soon realtors will be going much further by making their mobile website version and facebook pages a strategic focus. Your mobile mls app should offer more for home buyers and impressed home sellers. The app can be one of the most effective viral marketing and link baiting tools too.
Good luck with your SEO and link baiting campaigns. Let me know what you’re doing right now.