3 backlink building strategies to energize your B2B presence

Organic link-building takes time. Sam Bocetta reveals three proactive backlinking strategies to increase the pace.

In 2019, effective search engine optimization for B2B marketing comes down to digital branding and link building.

While social media tactics have their place in today’s wild version of “ways to win the online game,” quality inbound links to your website are what Google and other major search engine platforms want to see. Prominent branding is perhaps a stronger ranking signal, but getting to this level is something that generally requires lots of work outside of the digital realm.

Branding also tends to be more difficult for certain digital products and services.

This is something that tech startups of the Dot-Com bubble era got a painful lesson in nearly 20 years ago, to wit: Pets.com, Webvan, Boo.com, iVillage, and the incredible story of Pixelon.

A brilliant coder can develop a killer geolocation app intended to be delivered on a Software-as-a-Service basis (SaaS), but it could take months of daily organic SEO work to get a meaningful spot on the search engine results page.

Here’s how to jump the line.

1. Learn how to compound your SEO efforts

To a certain extent, compounded SEO is similar to what many Dot-Com era companies such as Pixelon did in terms of promoting and marketing their technologies. Though we now know that more than a few of those tech start-ups were selling snake oil, the way they approached partners and investors while at the same time launching multi-channel marketing campaigns is something that all online marketers can learn from.

Compound SEO, in essence, focuses on networking and building relationships with the entities that can provide a nice SERP boost with their inbound linking, a boost that takes advantage of other people’s audiences.

Rather than expanding your reach on a one-to-one basis, you’re gaining hundreds or thousands of new eyeballs looking at and clicking on your link at once. The people behind these entities are the ones who can make the inbound links happen, and this is when the idea of pitching comes into play.

Instead of waiting around for Google to notice diligent on-page SEO or hoping that a Wall Street Journal columnist links to her site, the aforementioned coder does have another option.

Action Tip: With the rise in popularity of the Software-as-a-Service economy, smart agencies have pivoted to offer B2B SaaS marketing services designed to speed up organic traffic growth back to your site. Whether it’s worth it or not is a personal and financial choice. The reality is that this kind of professional help is one way to hit the first page listing sooner.Keep in mind that an unscrupulous agency could easily throw up a bunch of links to spammy sites and get you hit with a Google penalty, which would fall under the “least wanted results” category. Read this Neil Patel piece for ways to tell if your agency is doing a good job.

2. Pitch well, pitch often, and aim for scalability

Think about how far-out the pitches made by early internet start-ups must have sounded to Wall Street investors. Yet they somehow worked for companies such as eBay and Amazon, which are still around and doing quite well. Back then, people were not sure whether the @ symbol meant "at" or "about."  

Cold email pitching skill (we’re not talking baseball) is crucial for compounding your SEO through networking. When executed properly – avoiding the spam filters set up to catch mail spam and phishing scams – it can become a stepping stone to scalability. Every pitch must have an angle, preferably specific and related to the interests of those providing the links.

Since we live in an era of freshness and relevance, ideal pitches should be newsworthy and relatable to audiences. A little heartfelt flattery can go a long way, but not in the Hollywood sense of inflating egos. People who make a living on the internet like to learn about how their digital content, products or services are having an effect.

Keep in mind that there’s no need to re-invent the wheel. There are perfectly good examples of pitches to be found all over the internet that can serve as inspiration or be tailored to your needs. You should also internalize the idea that a single email and follow up is not a pitch plan.

Action Tip: Make repeated contacts part of your strategy. As this case study from software-maker Ambition shows, a barely 1% response rate from an initial cold emailing turned into 12.6% by the time the full course of subsequent emails had run.

3. Implement automation sooner rather than later

If all goes well with your manual (one at a time) pitching, chances are that at some point you will enjoy that “Eureka!” moment that illustrates the power of compounding. If you can send out ten emails a day by yourself and realize X number of links pointing back to you, what if you could multiply that by 10... or 100?

There are a few ways to go about the kind of automation that makes scalability possible. You could hire people to manually pitch likely sites, thereby increasing your daily output, or make use of a reputable email marketing service (ie, one that is GDPR- and CCPA-compliant), which automates your marketing and dramatically lowers the costs of reaching your customers and clients. As it turns out, silicon (computers) work far cheaper than actual live human beings!

The benefits of choosing a host that specializes in email marketing are increased deliverability, augmented reach, autoresponders, and the ability to gauge the impact of your efforts with analytics.

When we talk about outreach automation, the money is in autoresponders, which is simply software into which you’ll pre-load the series of well-worded pitches and follow-up emails.

Action Tip: Choose an autoresponder for your outreach campaign. There are plenty of good ones to be found. Can it make a difference? Absolutely. If you’re operating at scale, check out these marketing automation tools like Marketo and others. They not only increase the pace of link building but help build relationships too. There’s no reason you can’t use similar strategies to boost your backlink campaign’s success rate.

Final Thoughts

Honesty (within reason) is the best policy when dealing with editors. Polishing a persona on LinkedIn, Twitter and personal blogs is fine. Posting "deep fakes" on Instagram is not.

Email pitches should come from domains you own and operate, preferably where you keep a blog if you intend to contribute guest posts.

Again, retaining skilled creators to create your content, whether it is written words, images, videos, or podcasts, is fine. Whenever your content resonates, be sure to keep snapshots of analytics and the websites where it was featured. Now get out there and build a bunch of backlinks.

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