If you are responsible for the success of a SEO campaign, the process of link building in 2011 may be your toughest challenge yet.

It might also be the most rewarding for your website and its underlying business. Social media’s influence is making the heads of many traditional SEOs spin; and consumers’ increasing use of mobile applications is driving many others to consider alternative methods of attracting users. It is time to rethink how link building is approached and make a shift toward a greater focus on consumer engagement in 2011.

There is still very much a place for SEO but success in this arena continues to depend on the number and quality of other websites linking to your site and its content. However, because so many competitors are clamoring for too few positions today, it is becoming increasingly difficult to influence rankings with traditional means. The shift that must happen requires refocusing attention on how content is consumed and to consider how the new means of distribution are impacting SEO.

Make no mistake, link building is work— hard work — that requires research, patience, testing and, of course, creativity. Balanced portfolios should continue to contain links from social media platforms, directories, blogs and both new and established websites. However, to shore up positions on competitive keywords, emerge ahead of the competition and establish influence in the future, the type and style of content and the relationships we have with those that can aid in its distribution is what must be pursued.

The Year of Hyper-targeted Micro-sites:
Exact-match, keyword-rich domain names have always been a quick and effective way to catapult to the top of the search results pages. This remains the case based on WM’s research on Bing and, consequently, now on Yahoo (not as much on Google anymore). But take the concept a step further this year by expanding and supplementing your existing content focus (scope) to acquire a new audience. For example, if you sell ski equipment, create a micro-site containing content (articles, videos, maps, info graphics) on the best downhill skiing in specific geographic areas. How will this benefit your core business and website? In a few ways but it is primarily in the number of links acquired from sources outside of the core site’s “normal” audience. Add an ability to expose products or services to a specific market and positioning a brand as thought leaders (not just merchants) to the list of benefits as well.

The Year of Personal Relationship Opportunities:
Giving your social graph the ability to feature and distribute your content (and encouraging them to do so) is important today but success in 2011 will require careful attention to those personal relationships upon which your social graph is built. Let’s return to our ski equipment website for an example. If you have taken the time to create the content suggested above about the best ski runs in certain areas, finding a few bloggers (or social media followers) willing to showcase that content — and provide a backlink — can turn personal relationships into linking relationships. Remember that any good relationship requires some give and take — so plan on participating as much as you publish.

The Year of Content Re-optimization:
What content from one or two years ago (or less) might be modified or updated to include a new slant on an old problem, new data for an old trend or to attract new attention on a forgotten content asset? You might want to review a blog post from 12 months ago and create a new post (cross-linking between the two), relating it to a specific trend today. Or, you might consider turning articles into videos (or vice versa). Content re-optimization means breathing new life into old content. Engaging in the process will help search engines and consumers rediscover the value being provided. Already, 2011 is quickly shaping up into the year of Consumer Engagement SEO — where the relationships we build with consumers are as important (if not more so) as the relationships we build with other website operators (and their websites) or traditional media. The links and signals from consumers are in every way as valuable as those from traditionalwebsites. Those SEOs who are able to recognize changes to the playing field and can act quickly to compensate for these shifts are positioned to dominate the results pages today and into 2012.

Source of Information : Website Magazine for March 2011


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