It is natural for anyone involved with SEO to constantly think in terms of ‘inbound links’ to the website being marketed. However, thinking only in terms of links is a narrow view of online marketing, as it could prevent one from taking advantage of several opportunities that may not necessarily result in a link, but provide one with valuable exposure that is after all the ultimate goal. Here, we like to reiterate a theme we constantly strive to remind ourselves in our organisation, that SEO is only a means to an end, not the end in itself and that there are several means to that end.
One aspect we constantly tell our SEO clients (and help them with) is to take advantage of industry websites and portals. This is particularly useful when working with B2B clients. Even though getting listed on these sites may not get a link back to the website- depending on the policy of the publisher or owner of these websites- you can take advantage of the captive audience/ traffic of these websites to attract direct referral traffic from those channels.
We have experienced the benefits of this first hand when we were handling a SEO campaign for a Mumbai based steel exporter. In addition to carrying out activities that fit the (traditional) definition of SEO, we created listings for this particular company in some of the most well-known portals for exporters and importers. These did not generate any links, but we noticed that the company received higher volume of leads as inquiries started coming from users of these websites. Not only that, we also started seeing an improvement in rankings on search results pages of the company’s website — while we cannot conclusively say that listing on these websites (without links) contributed to improved rankings on search engine results, we are inclined to believe there is a correlation between the two. Considering how search engines are becoming smarter with associating different entities, and the high thematic relevance of the portals to the business the company is in, it is quite logical too to consider that this correlation exists to a fair degree.
Nevertheless, there are a few things that you can do to ensure that you are creating greater exposure for yourself by taking advantage of these industry websites.
- At a minimum, get the company listed in the company directory
- Contribute product content
- Send in news releases and company announcements
Most publishers, who are themselves content-hungry to boost their own traffic, welcome such relevant content provided directly by “users”. If they meet the publisher’s quality guidelines and editorial policies, chances are that you will get the coverage and exposure you are hoping for.
Of course, many of these websites may also offer by-lined article contributions or guest blog posting opportunities, which usually gives you the link benefit that you are looking for as well. Do take advantage of those opportunities when available, but don’t let the absence of a ‘link’ prevent you from plucking this relatively low-hanging fruit!
Naveen Kodappully is a search marketing manager with On Target Marketing Solutions. He is responsible for traffic acquisition for numerous B2B and B2C web properties.