I got a phone call yesterday.
It was from a really large business here in Perth.
They were looking for someone to fill their Marketing Manager position and was wondering if I was interested.
Of course, I’ve currently got my hands full with this whole Doyle Digital thing.
So, I referred her on to a guy I know who is still up in the air of continuing freelancing or getting back into the full-time thing.
(Update: He got the job. Yeah team!)
Then, I spoke to her for a while.
I was curious about the role and it’s always flattering getting approached by such big companies.
So naturally, the conversation turns towards their current digital presence and the difficulties that they’re having with finding a provider who could handle the intensity of their work.
We’re talking about a business that is on TV, Radio, advertising in the newspaper and spending anywhere between $18,000 and $20,000 per month on AdWords media alone.
They already rank 1st and 2nd Organically for most of their high-volume money making keywords.
Their brand is strong with 720 searches per month on average for their brand name and this is in Perth, a city with only around 1.5 million people.
Search wise, they are in a position their competitors could only dream about.
Their goal for SEO, apart from nudging those few 2nd/3rd place keywords up to 1st, is to maintain their dominance in search and not be knocked off from their perch.
At this point in time, this large business had two companies taking care of half of the targeted keywords each.
This is a concern because the only way you can be ‘targeting keywords’ when building backlinks is by manipulating the anchor text to be keyword rich.
Anchor text are the words that are hyperlinked, so a branded anchor text for this website, Doyle Digital, has the brand name as the anchor text.
On-page is where the keyword specific work should be performed.
Off-page, it should all be about building the strength of the domain.
You do that by having most of your anchor text as either your brand name or the naked URL (like https://doyledigital.com.au).
Below is an overview of a backlink profile, using ahrefs, of a Perth home building company who has an extremely heavily reliance on using the phrase “builders perth” as their anchor text.
There are also a noticeable amount of links with the anchor text “homepage besuchen”, which means visit homepage in German.
You may also notice that a lot of domains are not from Australia (only 23%), with 6% of links from Germany, 2% of links from Italy and Russia with a whopping 40% of .com’s that could be from anywhere.
This is exactly why utilising SEO agencies for the purpose of link building is a risky move unless you know exactly how to vet each company along with some transparency with what links are being built each month and someone in-house to monitor the backlink profile.
So, you may be asking how this big company should be doing their SEO?
I know, right?
But it’s the biggest piece of advice that I could give to any massive brand such as this one.
The reason for this?
I’ve yet to come across an SEO company that are equipped to handle a client at this stage of their online presence properly.
And for the record, I don’t exclude myself from that list either.
See, once your on-page optimisation is sorted and you’ve built up all of your off-page citations (mostly directory submissions) and Google My Business profiles, that’s where the “SEO work” needs to stop.
Because I know that the SEO provider that this big company is with is simply building a certain amount of links on Private Blog Networks (PBNs), links in comment sections of other blogs, or creating orphan profiles on random sites.
An orphan page, for example, is a profile on a forum that has no activity (or maybe one post at best) making it a very weak link if it’s left in that state.
In this scenario, you’re going well against Google’s guideline with a multi-million dollar operation which would have the appropriate overheads and wages to match the influx of work they are currently receiving. You can imagine the cost to that business if they suddenly drop off the first page of Google because of some ‘super-advance link building strategies’ that The Big G caught on to.
There are a lot of PR and traditional marketing methods that can be leveraged to obtain extremely powerful backlinks that your competitors cannot directly replicate and those with lesser marketing budgets cannot even hope to compete with.
Here are just a few ways to go about getting backlinks when you’re a large organisation.
The aim here is to find where you’ve been mentioned online (in blogs, articles, news sites, etc.) where a link hasn’t already been provided.
You want to reach out the owners/authors of these mentions and request that they can hyperlink the mention of the brand name to your website.
This is a really simple yet super effective way of scoring some really powerful backlinks, which you’re sure to have if you’re dealing with a big brand like this one.
I like to phone as often as possible for a greater success rate, but at those times when you can’t get a telephone number, here’s the type of e-mail that I’d send:
She kind of owed me after getting me name wrong 😛
When you’re a large brand, other companies are often eager to use your brand image to help lift their own.
Allow suppliers to mention your relationship, use your logo and even link back to your website for a highly powerful, very relevant backlink.
Don’t just limit this to suppliers of inventory. If you’re happy with the job that a marketing agency or design professional has done, let them use you as a testimonial for yet another backlink to your website.
I personally managed to score a backlink from TrackMyCalls.com just for e-mailing the owner of the company an awesome testimonial and full permission to use it as he sees fit.
Sponsored content is the newest way that newspapers are trying to increase their online revenue and truth be told, they struggle to sell them at the best of times.
Whilst many sponsored content articles typically don’t provide a link, or even if they do they make it a nofollow – know that as the client you have the bargaining power to refuse to proceed without a dofollow backlink to the website.
When you’re a large business with a strong social following, you have a great opportunity to start pumping out some high-quality content (hosted on your own website) that actually helps people.
Content marketing is on everybody’s lips at the moment but the truth is not many people know how to do it without large social followings, a boost from an influencer or the power of a well-established brand.
Fortunately being a big brand makes this 100 times easier, so produce awesome content and share it around vigorously on social media and you’re bound to get at least a couple of backlinks as well as the added benefit of some social signals and additional traffic to your website.
Content like this that provides genuinely helpful information to a specific group of people or sub-community usually gets a lot of traction, being reshared on other blogs.
And I practice what I preach too! I’ve personally had my AdWords Infographic used on other digital marketing blogs such as:
(I’ve purposely not linked these to avoid looking as if there is some sort of link exchange going on).
Below is an example from the Red Website Design link.
Whether you’re in agriculture, the amusements industry or in pharmaceuticals, there are journalists at both traditional papers and industry specific websites that are dying for content.
Offer your time for interviews or to provide insights. After all, any journalist or blogger knows that a statement in their article will sound far more legitimate coming from a well-known player in the industry than themselves. That source may as well be you and you can potentially pick up a backlink in the process.
I personally have guest blogged a few times as a way of sharing my industry experience with other outlets, gaining both as a contributing voice in the industry as well as a backlink!
Here’s an example of a post I contributed to Agency Analytics on the importance of call tracking.
Competitions and giveaways are always popular and get a lot of attention when promoted by a big brand.
A separate landing page on your website is ideal for your offer. Just remember if you’re going to delete the page after the promotion is over to put a 301 redirect back to the homepage (or more a competitions page, if you have one).
An example of JB Hi Fi’s Competitions Page
Sponsoring a few local sporting teams is a great way to not only contribute to your community but to also score a few nice backlinks from websites that generally have a fairly high level of authority to them (typically some .gov.au domains linking to their site from the local Shire too).
Charitable donations is another solid way to get very powerful backlinks, but the challenge here is to find charities that actually have a Contributors Page or some way of crediting their donors.
An example of Air Conditioning HQ sponsoring Joondalup City Football Club.
They’re a lot of work and in no way, shape or form going to guarantee that you gain a single link.
And that’s pretty much the main reason that the vast majority agencies do not even attempt to do them.
Selling SEO is hard enough as it is, imagine telling a client that all the effort that you are going to put into action the above, which can often cost a lot, may not get any results at all.
And that AdWords Infographic that I got links from? Well, I tried pushing that pretty aggressively with not a great amount of luck. It got re-pinned on Pinterest a few times and I think that is how it wound up on those websites.
Even right now, I’m spending a few hundred dollars pushing this article that your reading right now and I honestly don’t expect to get much from it – but high risk, high reward.
If you know some other clever ways to get backlinks without “doing SEO”, get in touch or leave a comment below and let me know. As you can see from all the links above, I give full credit where credit is due.