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How to build links when you don’t have linkable assets

Lately, the phrase “linkable assets” seems to be getting more and more popular. I’m fairly sure that my buddy, Garrett French from Ontolo.com, invented the phrase, and he has even gone as far as to make it one the foundations of Ontolo’s new, premium link building tool. I’ve also seen other well-known SEOs reference the term when discussing various link-building strategies and tactics.

In layman’s terms, “linkable assets” refers to the various kinds of content that entice folks to link out (everything from a blog post, to a video, to an info-graphic, etc.). We’re all familiar with these types of “linkable” content that facilitate the link-building process and thought leaders in our industry spend a lot of time breaking down the various ways that you can leverage this kind of content for SEO gain.

Unfortunately for many of us, there are still loads and loads of businesses that for one reason or another end up with a web presence completely devoid of linkable assets. This is the stark reality that the modern SEO practitioner is often faced with, and it occurs at every level of business; from the small mom and pop operation to the Fortune 500 mega brand.

So what’s a self-respecting SEO to do?

Here are a few ideas gleamed from dozens and dozens of “no linkable asset” scenarios me and my agency team have faced over the years:

  • Look for opportunities to optimize existing inbound links. We refer to this as “link cleanup” or “anchor text cleanup” and it basically means reaching out to webmasters that have already linked to the site you’re working on in an effort to secure keyword-rich anchor text variations. We’ve had phenomenal success with this technique over the years. You can read more about it here.
  • Look for sites that link to two or more of your top competitors. By analyzing the inbound links of multiple competitors for a particular keyword phrase you can uncover web pages that are prone to linking to multiple sites within a particular vertical (links pages, niche directories or even simple categorical lists) which means that they’ll probably link to you! Majestic SEO recently released a new “Clique Hunter” tool that facilitates the process of performing this kind of multi-competitor query.
  • Submit to directories. I know, I know. Directories don’t carry the kind of weight they used to, but when you’re faced with a dire situation you must be relentless. The fact is that if you’re thorough in your evaluation (e.g. making sure that the directories you submit to have some semblance of authority and that the actual page your link will appear on is indexed) you can make a positive impact on your inbound link profile by securing directory links
  • Use social media monitoring tools to identify brand mentions that aren’t accompanied by an inbound link. I talked about this strategy at length a few weeks ago. You can read more about it here.
  • If you sell products, reach out to bloggers and coordinate product reviews (with natural links pointing back to your site)
  • Look for guest posting opportunities. A good place to start is Ann Smarty’s guest posting community,myblogguest.com.
  • Buy links (just kidding!……sort of). While it’s true that paid links are frowned upon by the Powers That Be (Google to be specific) it’s also true that they still work. Just make sure that your client/employer understands what the risks involved before diving into these waters.

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