SEO and Networking: How Relationships Help Build Your Backlinks and Reputation

Written by: Jason Bayless | December 21, 2012

No website is an island, but you know that using a link farm is a dangerous no-no. All sites need incoming links to help boost their search engine rankings – but it’s crucial that those inbound links come from quality websites. But how, exactly, can you get those good quality inbound links from reputable sites in your industry? Through reaching out to people who are the movers, shakers and thought leaders in your industry and forming a connection with them. It’s time to do a little networking!

The right kind of networking can accomplish a lot. It can gain you perks like backlinks, mentions and shout-outs in other people’s blogs, guest posts on widely-read blogs (with a link back to your website, of course), interviews in industry trade mags and blogs, and similar opportunities. What they all have in common is that they establish you as an industry leader and get you lots of good, high quality links.

But the question remains: How do you reach out to the leaders you want to get to know? Dani Zehra, writing for the Search Engine Journal, recently posted a helpful and insightful article on this topic. Zehra asked social networking and marketing experts to share their ideas for successful networking, and in many their advice was remarkably similar.

The common consensus is that to network effectively, you should:

  • Mention experts you admire and quote them in your blog posts. If you read an article that’s interesting to you, compliment the author and let them know that you’ve shared or quoted their content. They might just turn around and share your content sometime, too!
  • Help out others in the industry. Help newbies who are just starting out, answering their questions patiently and pointing them in the right direction. You’ll gain a reputation as a go-to guy or gal, a leader and a nice person as well.
  • Take the time to schmooze. Be yourself, joke around a little, and talk about mutual – or completely different – interests. It’s also important to listen as much as (or possibly more than) you talk, because that demonstrates that you’re interested in learning from others. Showing that you’re a real person and a good listener, as well as someone who is knowledgeable and passionate about your industry, helps you build relationships as well as cultivating trust and respect for your know-how.
  • Think outside your industry. Sometimes you can get good backlinks from surprising places. So always be open to networking opportunities – even if you think you’re just participating in a forum about personal interests like hiking or gaming, for example.

So get out there (whether online or in real life at a trade show or convention) and meet some of the people in your industry’s neighborhood. You’ll build a reputation as a friendly, helpful and knowledgeable person – and that has great potential to turn into quality backlinks from trustworthy sites. Good for SEO, and good for your image too.