Lots of people are still hung up on the idea that Links = SEO.
Get a lot of links to your site and you’ll rank #1 and get a lot of traffic.
5-10 years ago this was pretty much exactly how it worked. But since that time Google has gotten smarter. They used links as one indicator that a website or a page or a brand were seen as trustworthy, relevant and useful.
But then some started focusing only on building links. Any type of link. And Google had to react because their results were compromised. So they now use much more sophisticated methods for determining if a website or page is trustworthy, relevant and useful.
Yes, links still seem to be part of the equation, but what you really want to do is try to grow your brand. This means getting more people to know that you and your company exist. Why focus on branding? Google loves brands. But beyond that, branding can lead to other forms of traffic to your website too. Social media traffic, direct traffic. All of the traffic.
A result of this effort is that you will probably get more links, but even better than that you’ll get more mentions. A mention is simply the mention of you or your company somewhere online. It could be a link, but it could be on a podcast or on an online video. It’s just a mention that someone sees or hears resulting in them now knowing that you exist.
How do you get more mentions?
Here are some of my favorite tips…
Not the bike company.
This is Help A Reporter Out.
It’s an email that you get three times a day. Writers for a variety of publications are looking for sources to use in their work. They include a description of the information they need in the email. If you think you can be a good source you reply and submit your information, which is usually a tip or example or something like that.
If the writer decides to use your response they almost always mention you and your company in their piece. This way their audience now knows that you exist.
I’m a big fan of partnerships. There are a variety you can use to grow your business.
Let’s say you’re a dentist. You could partner with an orthodontist. Have the same office. Send each other patients. You both grow as a result of the partnership and your complementary services.
Maybe that relationship is just an agreement. Separate offices, but you mention each other’s service to patients. Mentions.
You can do the same online. You can partner with other businesses and mention each other on your websites.
You could also partner with other people to create content. Maybe a partner podcast. Or a resource guide. Or a white paper.
People love contests. They draw attention. They get mentioned on blogs, social media, etc.
I’m a big fan of guesting.
One example is guest posting. You write a blog article on someone else’s website. You give the blog owner content and in return you get exposure to their audience.
But you can do the same with podcasting or online videos. Heck, there is a local yoga instructor in my city that goes on the local morning news once a week to give yoga and exercise tips. Great exposure and definitely a great mention that helps her build her brand in the local area.
Going to events and speaking is a great way to get online mentions. People at events usually post on social media about speakers especially if the speakers share nice little nuggets of information. Stats, tips, things like that. Events are a ready-made audience that speakers can use to increase their exposure.
7. Hosting Events
Building on the idea of speaking at events is the idea that you could host an event. You can start small. Maybe a local event. Then build from there if you want, but start out small. It could even be a small get together.
Maybe a happy hour with businesses that are on your block. Or maybe a local group of similar businesses.
This one is for the long-term. Eventually what you’re looking to do is to be “So and So Event presented by XYZ Company” and you’re the hosting company getting all the mentions every time the event is mentioned.
One way to skip building an event from scratch is to sponsor an event.
But you don’t just have to sponsor events. You can sponsor anything. A big one right now is sponsoring podcasts. If you listen to popular podcasts you’ll almost always hear “brought to you by…”.
Sponsorships have been around for a long time. It’s a way to tie your brand to someone or something that has people’s attention.
9. Social Media Commenting
This one is pretty time intensive, but it works. Basically what you’re doing is going on social media and being social. You’re interacting with other people’s content. You’re giving thoughtful comments. You’re adding to the content they’re sharing. You’re getting involved in their audience.
10. Resource Content
The final one is building resource content. Big guides. Big industry surveys that lead to industry stats. The kind of thing that every executive wants to read about and therefore that every industry publication wants to cite and write about.
I’m much bigger on online mentions than I am on links. There is danger is chasing links. But mentions are great because they go beyond SEO. They do seem to help SEO, but that’s a side effect. The real effect is that every time you’re mentioned online you have the potential to reach new people. New people that now know you exist and that can discover your products and services.