B2B Social Media — The Backlink Booster
Any discussion on the topic of how social media can benefit online marketing should begin with backlinks. Broadly defined, backlinks refer to other websites that reference your website – they “link” to your site. Links are the currency of the Internet – the more of them you have, the higher your organic ranking.
From the search engine’s point of view, backlinks are votes of confidence and support from others. As a result, Google et al will reward you for having a lot of good friends. Since poor links can cause more harm than benefit, the operative word is “good.”
A good link is one that satisfies these criteria:
- It is highly regarded with a solid track record and page rank.
- It is relevant to your industry and therefore, authoritative.
- It was acquired as a result of your efforts, not your wallet.
The beauty of a sound backlink strategy is, if you play your cards right, that you can build a strong core of links that will grow exponentially, without spending a dime on marketing.
Now the question becomes, what part does social media play in all this?
As recently as two years ago, one could reasonably argue that blogs, directories, and links to social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook were helpful to good ranking, but not necessary. Today, any online marketing company that does not advocate in favor of a requirement for these tools could justifiably be accused of incompetence.
Blogging – There is more to blogging than setting one up on your site. You must post to it routinely; twice a month is the minimum to maintain good SEO credibility. Obviously, if you want to acquire backlinks from your blog, the content must be engaging, useful to the reader, and relevant to your products or services. Very few backlinks will be acquired with a post about your son’s little league batting average.
Where most companies really miss the boat is with the use of guest blog posts. This is a great way to attract good, relevant links. Standard procedure is to visit other sites that are aligned with your customers. Contribute something of value to their blog and of course, include a link back to your site within the content. Most will be delighted to have your valuable content on their site.
Directories – No, we don’t mean the Yellow Pages. That soda lost its fizz several years ago. Get listed into every conceivable free Internet directory you can find. Though these are relatively weak links as far as SEO benefit is concerned, they can add up. Most of the benefit will come from local and regional searches by people looking for your type of company.
Besides Yelp and local newspapers, consider professional organizations, church websites, and related industry directories. While these two aren’t free, the Best of the Web Directory and Yahoo Directory provide fantastic SEO value. Additionally, they both get good results from people doing the actual searching. Look for the option to write the anchor text or alt tag for your listing. This is the specific term that is hyperlinked back to your website. Be sure to use your primary keyword only once within that text. (Additionally, Strategic eMarketing has a 100 directory submission package, email Emanuel to order for $299.)
Social Networks – According to Wikipedia, there are over 100 social networks with a strong core of users. The ones to actively engage with are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Set up pages on each with links back to your site. Again, it’s all about content. Provide meaningful information that others will want to share.
Also, provide links to your social media accounts at least on the homepage of your website and try to locate them “above the fold,” meaning they should be visible without scrolling down the page.
Social media is getting complicated! In fact, the designer of this graphic that effectively demonstrates the size of the industry neglected one of the main players. Know which one it is?
Solid page one rankings on search engines are the key to website traffic, backlinks are the key to page one, and social media is the key to backlinks. More than ever in the past, content remains king.