The old ways of content marketing aren’t enough anymore. If you’re used to building links by spamming on forums or sneakily buying them, you have likely either experienced a Google penalty already or will soon. Google and other search engines are increasingly prioritizing social media when it comes to link building. If you have lots of social signals relating to your link, it appears to be better-quality and will be rated more important than a link that isn’t talked about on social networks.
If you want to promote your content correctly with social media, it’s important to follow certain guidelines so you don’t seem like a spammer, however. Here are some tips to help you build links on social media in seven steps.
1. Establish a presence on each social network
Before you start building links, you need to have a presence on each major social network. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn are the bare necessities. When you want to convince people to let you submit a guest post, including a link to your social media profile makes you seem more “real” and human.
2. Network with other bloggers
Spammy blog networks are targeted by Google, but legitimate networks of high-quality blogs on similar topics that support each others’ efforts are very valuable. If you want to build links to a real estate website, consider blogs on housing, real estate, or perhaps home decor – not blogs on fashion or food.
3. Create content aimed at each network
A post on Google+ about twenty great Google+ communities for people looking at buying homes will do very well when posted on Google+, for example. This establishes you as someone who, at the very least, knows who the important people are – and hints that you’re probably among them.
4. Make sure people can share your content
High-quality content won’t get around social networks unless you let others promote it. Each piece of content on your own site should have social sharing buttons easily available on the page for others to recommend it. This builds a link every time someone shares your content.
5. Get groups to look at your content
Don’t spam groups, but in networks like Facebook or LinkedIn groups where sharing is allowed, people frequently respond to or re-share content, and you have established yourself, try getting your group to look at your content. Send it to an admin to post or post it yourself – just be sure to respond to feedback.
6. Look for bloggers who create recap posts
Industry leaders often keep an eye out for the best posts in their niche each week or month. A blogger who creates recap posts will be more willing to link to your site, and having your link included among other high-quality links will give it more social proof in Google’s eyes.
7. Check your stats to see what works
Stat websites like CognitiveSEO help you see what works and what doesn’t when it comes to social sharing. If you’re getting much more attention from one social network, focus on that network or change your efforts on other sites. You’ll be able to see how much traffic you actually received from all your marketing efforts to make sure it’s worth it.
Using social media strategically helps you build links to your website without spamming or looking like a desperate webmaster. Focus on building high-quality links, even if they only come one or two at a time at first, and social proof will help you get more people on board and sharing your content as you get more traffic.
Daniel Hicks is a website marketing strategist and consultant. He enjoys passing on his knowledge through blogging. Visit the www.seoworks.com website to learn more.