Organic Principle: Increasingly, Google is rewarding (rather than just saying they reward- they actually are starting to do it) more naturally acquired links. Moving forward, it behooves SEO’s to create better content and create a more natural blend of links. One technique we’ve recently added (inception from Tom Critchlow and others- but refined by Gravitate) to our link building repertoire is what we call the ‘All Natural Goodness‘ process.
Simply put, we look at sites that are showing up later in search results, are not doing SEO but have obtained some organic links, and use our best content to go after these links. They do not always have the most gaudy juice stats (Page Authority, Domain Authority, PR, ect.) but have those small-town-all-natural nutrients that will pay dividends over the long haul. We go after sites that are buried deep within an industry. Locations, blogs, forums, organizations where we should be participating anyway- as a natural extension of the business.
Here is the All Natural Goodness process:
Step 1: Competitive Keyword Phrase
Start with a competitive keyword phrase. In this case I’ve used “Corporate Training”. With your SEOmoz toolbar engaged, you will see that the first page is loaded with sites that have been optimized. In most cases it appears that SEO firms have done their best to many links. I pay particular attention to the number of root domains (learned this tidbit from Tom). These site link domains usually contain a lot of SEO company spam-the-crap-out links. These are not the ones I’m really interested in at this time (although I do a robust competitive link analysis- for this technique I’m not interested in these).
Step 2: Go Where the Naturally Grown Sites Are
Once I’ve determined this phrase is fairly competitive- I want to find the sites that are ranking (albeit not too well) for the phrase and are getting their only links organically. So, I go to the 5th-10th pages for the phrase. Here I will see sites that have much lower numbers of domains linking to them- as shown by the toolbar. These inbound links are more likely to be naturally obtains- through online industry participation, valid memberships or sponsorships of local events. I look for one or two that have particularly low inbound pointing domains to take a better look by clicking on the toolbar’s ‘Explore’ link- taking me Open Site Explorer.
Step 3: Tools Show Where the Nutrients are
In Open Site Explorer I sort out internal linking pages and look for the followed links that seem to be more organic and industry specific in nature.
Step 4: Humbly Partake
Once I’ve found a good candidate I look through the site and see if I can request inclusion in the blogroll, participate in a forum discussion or add a relevant comment on a blog post about some premium content on our site.
As this is usually a deep industry site- I’ll want to be sure to add value to the post or site. I like to answer questions or add a link to one of our infographics- so visitors find more helpful information. AVOID THE TEMPTATION TO SPAM. This is not the venue (if there is a venue at all). If ever you’ve wanted to add quality comments, answered questions or found a way to make the webmaster happy with helpful links- this is the time to do it.
That’s it! It’ll take some practice to find the right types of sites, but a nice blend of these nutrient-rich, small-town links are a nice addition to any link building strategy.
How do you build high quality white-hat links? I’d love to hear your ideas. If you add valid suggestions, I’d love to feature your ideas and send some link-love your way.