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Is link bait relevant to technical companies?

If you want to get significantly increased traffic from Google, your website needs more links to it. That’s a fact. The most obvious way to get them is to identify likely sites and just ask for links. I would recommend every company does this; I can’t stress highly enough what a cost-effective use of someone’s time it is. However, a second way of getting links is to set up something which people will find noteworthy, and link to. You probably won’t know the people who end up linking to you – but their links might arrive in serious volumes if what you’ve set up is attractive enough.

If designed specifically for the purpose, these features of your website are known as “link bait”. If you call in a good SEO consultant, but one who doesn’t understand your technology area, they nearly always think laterally about what you do and suggest some off-the-wall mainstream article you could create. So if you sell blue widgets, they might tell you to write an article called “The Top 10 Appearances of Blue Widgets in the Movies”. This might indeed start getting some links from people who write about movies, or interesting top tens, or whatever. But to be honest, it always makes me cringe a little.

What you really want is to create a useful technical resource which people will start referring to with links, rather than going to the effort of explaining a concept in their own articles. I came across a good example the other day when researching how one particular sensors company was managing to achieve astonishingly high rankings in Google for almost everything it supplied. Unsurprisingly, the success of the website was down to links, but when I started looking at the inbound links, many of them were pointing not to products, but to a little tool on the site which explained IP Ratings. It’s a useful tool too. However, I suspect the real trick was not to have spent a lot of time trying to get people to link to their product pages (as most of us do), but to have spent time getting people to link to this resource. And that, of course, is a lot easier to do: people are much more likely – if asked – to link to something useful than something commercial.

The result was that the page about IP Ratings started to appear very high up in Google searches for that term. And in turn, that meant lots of people unknown to the website owner will have found the site and started to link to it.

So have a think about useful resources which you could add to your website. Indeed, you may already have some in place, or perhaps you’ve got them in the form of wallcharts or technical handbooks which could be put on the website. Then have a think about other sites where the owners might link to your resource. You could even promote it as a press release. It’ll be a lot easier than getting other sites to link to your product pages. Once it’s started to work its way up the Google rankings, your resource will start getting found by other sites, and you can see how the whole thing starts to develop exponentially.

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