It goes without saying that Google should be apart of any marketing strategy, with the aim of bringing visitors, leads and customers to your door. However, if you completely rely on Google to bring you leads, then this is a very dangerous strategy because Penguins, Pandas and Hummingbirds have a habit of wiping websites of the face of the earth in a flick of a algorithm switch.
Don’t believe us? Simply take a look at these I lost my rankings in Google for what can only be described as a mass of case studies, infected websites and infuriated webmasters.
So what are the other ways to get traffic to my website and rely less on Google?
The key is to shift your focus and attention from sourcing links, to sourcing visitors, leads and customers. In other words you are linking for people rather than for search engines.
Now before I go ahead and reveal what every SEO expert doesn’t like to share or talk about too much, I must stress that like a well known ‘Eminem’ song, “lose yourself”
“you only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow. This opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo”
The point here being, that what I am about to share with you requires specialist inbound marketing skills. If you simply approach the other parties and pitch your offer, the door will firmly be shut in your face. Unsolicited phone calls and emails just get trashed. There isn’t an abundance of companies to target with this strategy, so it’s absolutely pivotal that its done correctly because the chances of resurrecting a mutual deal when the door is closed is next to zero.
So here goes… welcome to Stealth Links
I call them Stealth Links because they are undetected by your competitors and undetected by search engines such as Google. No amount of Pandas, Penguins, Hummingbirds or any other name given to algorithm updates will impact the traffic that stealth links will provide you. In other words, forging strategic linking partnerships is the way forward.
But…we still need Google, and for this task it’s role is merely to play a part in your research. You want to use Google to identify the best companies, that occupy top rankings, because these websites probably get a rich amount of sales and customers from being in such a privileged ranking position. But, also target positions 10+, because they are the one’s who could really do with a few extra customers.
For example: Let’s say you are in the business of selling manual handling goods (platform trucks, sack trucks, lockers, safety equipment etc) – it’s most unlikely that those in the same market space will want to talk to you, let alone advertise your business. However, an online retailer of hand tools and power tools, may well want to listen because they could benefit by reaching out to your customers and vice versa. You are not in competition with each other, but chances are, your customers probably have a common interest in both product lines. It’s good old fashioned marketing where you mutually agree an exchange of services without any form of payment.
Below is an example of companies that currently occupy the results pages when I queried ‘Power Tools’ on google.co.uk. Those that I have marked in red are what I believe provide the best linking opportunities, because they are (and this is not meant to sound disrespectful) smaller companies than the Screwfix, Dewalt’s and Homebase’s of this world. This is purely my perception, and it should not be taken as gospel that larger companies will be less engaging.
There will also be companies listed on page 2 that also qualify as target link opportunities.
Of course, online retailers of hand tools and power tools are just one type of company that could be targeted in this instance.
And here’s another example. This time you are a wedding photographer. Whilst linking with other wedding photographers may help your Google rankings, they are most unlikely to bring you traffic, leads and customers (which ultimately what you want). Whereas, linking up with online jewellers, cake makers, weddings cars etc, could bring enormous benefits for both parties involved.
“You are linking for people rather than for search engines”
The reason I am suggesting targeting online retailers because the marketing communications can be automated. For example, when an order is placed on the jewellery store, the customer is likely to receive a confirmation of order email. It is within this email that a simple ‘you may also like…’ accompanied by a carefully worded paragraph introducing your wedding photography services, your name, discount, unique website link, phone, email will feature. This is an incredible powerful tool because you are landing in the inbox of a highly qualified lead. By having a unique website link or landing page, will mean you will be able to monitor the success of each campaign.
Here is an example of what the automated email may look like (remember it is fictitious):
We have received your order, thank you. Please find your confirmation order number below. In addition to the many services offered here on site, we also are proud to partner with weddingphotographer.com, where every one of our customer receives a 15% discount off wedding photography packages.
It all sounds easy doesn’t it? Well, it is for a highly skilled marketer who knows how to communicate and pitch to potential partners, with a little pinch of flattery in the mix. Just remember, if you are going to embark on this journey and you are untrained and inexperienced “you only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow. This opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo”
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If this article got you fired up, then you will definitely like an article written by Eric Ward for SearchEngineWatch on the subject of Non-Google Linking Strategy: an example of stealth links