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Link development for a directory

3:36 pm on Oct 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Hello everyone,

I work for a marketing company whose main product is an online directory of businesses that belong to countless industries and the segments within those industries. My assignment has been to learn about link building and find strategies to mark our website's presence within a very specific industry segment through link building and then, after establishing a relationship with companies in that segment, get them to promote (i.e. place links for) a new online store that one of our clients recently launched that caters to those companies.

So after going through an hour-long crash course video on link building that the boss signed me up for, one thing that became very clear to me is that quality content is the backbone of the entire operation. Developing quality content is rather hard. I can do basic research on brands and products in the given industry, but the nature of all that is too complex and technical for me to produce content that the actual users of those products, who know 20 times more than anyone in our company, will find useful.

One of the ways that I tried getting around that problem is by making free listings for target companies in our directory (the biggest strength of which is a page ranking above 5 and fairly active presence on our facebook and twitter pages). I did that, then emailed each company, simply letting them know about the new listing and asking for their feedback on accuracy of the information. This has yielded a handful of responses, but no real feedback or dialogue of any sort.

Now running out of target companies to do the same thing for and seeing no substantial results, I'm trying to find other ways to make us useful to the target companies. All I can really think of is starting some sort of a portal that would relate to this segment. So, instead of producing quality content of our own, providing space for other people to do so. I don't know how realistic any of this is, but perhaps finding the few bloggers that are out there to contribute, starting a message board, or a section where people can review the relevant products. There isn't too much stuff like that out on the web at the moment.

I'm looking for some thoughts and ideas on all of this. I'm more than open to criticism of the approach, notes of pitfalls in logic, etc. I'm just currently stumped, there is an overwhelming amount of information out there and would like to be pointed in the right direction.

Thank you!
9:31 pm on Oct 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I would leverage guest blogging, either on and spend your time link baiting/viral marketing/content marketing, whatever you want to call it.

There are tons of options for the link baiting/viral marketing content:
- A contest
- A tout or rankings badge (target "featured companies" or rank blogs in your industry, especially if your directories have cred in the industry)
- An infographic
- A comprehensive guide or resource list
- A list ranking the top companies for a specific product or service in a specific industry
- the possibilities are endless

The benefits you will find here are that you can build content for your guest blogging around the link bait as well as issue a press release about the link bait. I would suggest avoiding just picking a popular consumer electronic as a prize and actually come up with something relevant and creative for your industries. This way, you don't receive links through your social media networks and blogs that say things like "go win an iPad" and instead say things like (example) "win a remodel of your ugly bathroom."

The guest posting and PR distribution will build a volume of quality links to your homepage or other targeted ranking page, plus the links you get to your piece of content will increase the overall authority of your domain.

Plus, with all of the links being cohesive, the engines will be able to easily determine relevance for your website.