While hiring expensive experts can definitely be worth it in some occasions (if you happen to hire the right one, of course), you don’t need to hire a link builder to get more links. Every company -even yours- has employees that can increase your link popularity pretty easily, some even on a weekly or daily basis. Some of these links might only bring in a couple of visitors, but others can be pretty valuable. All these links combined, however, can result in a pretty natural looking and SERPs boosting link profile.
To show you how many link developers you might already have, I’ve listed just a few employees of the average (small to mid-size) company below.
The Sales/ Account Manager
Besides going out for several “business” lunches every week, account and/ or sales managers serve another goal: they can build links for you. They talk to a lot of (potential) customers and have tons of useful connections.
Not only may your account manager know some potential link targets (scanning their LinkedIn connections every now and then certainly is an option), but they might be able to get some links from existing clients as well. Happy clients, for example, might be willing to add a testimonial, a product or service review, or a simple partner link to their website.
The Purchasing Division
This one is similar to the previous one, but just the other way around. Lots of suppliers -especially the ones you’ve already got long relationships with- might be willing to link to you, as one of their (top) clients. Offering to write a testimonial (which contains a link to your site, of course) can work like charm as well.
This one is even easier if you happen to be a (somewhat) popular or well-known company. In this case, your suppliers will be more than happy to show that they’ve been doing business with a big brand like yours.
The Product Specialist
Your product specialists are probably the most well known people from your company (except for perhaps your CEO) within your industry, because they (hopefully) attend conferences, training sessions or contests on a regular basis. Exploit this stardom by turning these specialists into hard core link developers.
Guest posts, speaking gigs or participations in research are not only a great opportunity to show others that your company has knowledgeable specialists, but they’re also excellent as a part of your link building strategy. Product specialist are usually able to get links from above-average websites and they know their way in your industry online.
Marketing & PR
This one’s a no-brainer, because the folks from Marketing and Public Relations are probably responsible for the largest part of your external communication. Unfortunately, they usually forget to improve the company’s link popularity.
Advertising, press releases, sponsoring, industry website listings and lots of other opportunities that might contain links are within their reach. I’m not only talking about direct, SERP boosting links, but also about other, nofollowed options (such as sponsored reviews, for example), that might result in extra links indirectly.
Talk to this department on a very regular basis for maximum effect.
The lady from human resources not only talks with dozens of potential new co-workers every week, but she probably also puts several job related advertisements online on a regular basis. While some of these ads do not allow links and others only allow nofollowed links, others can be direct links that send in targeted traffic.
Although ads for specific jobs usually have a temporary character, links to your overall vacancies page can be permanent ones, that not only might bring in new employees, but link juice as well.
Lots of universities publish reports, studies or other pieces of interesting information -such as intern reports- on their websites. This is why offering a challenging internship assignment to your intern sure is a good idea, as is giving them the right guidance. Oh, and if you’re lucky, your new student might be active for the school newspaper and a student association as well.
I just can’t say this too often: internal links rock, but get forgotten way too often. A simple sitemap, the website’s navigation, getting in-content links or converting 302s into much better 301s; the IT department is your friend for all internal linking issues.
Don’t just send your IT guy (or gal) an email when something’s wrong, but explain why internal links are important (and which ones), and they might do it the right way in the future. I said might…
The CEO (or CFO, CMO or any other O) of the company is the public face of the company as well, in most cases. These guys, such as Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, also get the most requests for interviews, publications and on- or offline appearances.
In stead of rejecting nearly 99% of these requests, ask your CEO to let these requests run through you as well. Pick out the most interesting ones (link juice and potential traffic wize, of course) and explain to your boss how and where he should try to get some links in.
These aren’t the only ones within your company that can build links for you. The boss’ secretary might be a moderator at a puppy forum as well, while the person sitting next to you could just as easily be webmaster of a local website. Ask around to see what everybody’s doing online and look for interesting connections.
Also, online profile links might be useful additions to your link profile as well. Don’t stop at Facebook, Twitter, Digg or your niche social media platform, but encourage your colleagues to optimize their LinkedIn profile as well.
The Possible Dangers…
While all of the employees listed above together might work as rocket fuel for your link popularity, they can just as easily take your entire link profile down. This is why proper guidance is so important. Work together with your “link developers” as a team, in stead of letting them do the work while you sit back and relax.
Also, I’m not saying that you don’t need professional link building services and/ or advice. You might be able to live without it, but -especially if you happen to be in a competitive niche- you just might need that extra link-building-specialist-oompf to reach those top spots.