Adrienne Erin makes some good points on SiteProNews in her look at why Links Still Matter to Google: Using Real World Connections. I think it’s a good reminder that even when all the contact with someone is on the Internet, there’s still a real world offline that the person inhabits. Here are her suggestions for linking offline:
- Start with those you know — have you noticed that you tend to give credibility to the people you have some history with? They do it too, so reach out with a call or personal email to the friendly ones when you want to spread the word about a new initiative. Offer to do a reciprocal sharing of their project in a mutually beneficial move.
- Join a chamber — these local business and professional organizations are good ways to network and become acquainted with your peers. Check around and see what’s available in your area.
- Host an event — I like Erin’s idea of a “thank you” networking event for old, new, and potential contacts. The raffle prizes for showing up and link-building emphasis is a win for everybody who comes. You could throw in some speaking & training sessions and give attendees added value.
- Attend and consider sponsoring an established trade show — there are no downsides to being part of one of the trade shows in your area because it gets your business connected to the faces of your reps. Even if few attend, those who set up as booth holders get to know each other.
- Look for advertising opportunities offline — local papers and events are great places to put some ads that point people back to your site.
These are good suggestions for any sized business because all businesses exist in a community. With the Internet, that community is larger than it once was, but it still is made up of individuals who live in the real world.
The thing to remember is that all links have to be worth following or they don’t really have any value. Your website and its content must be as promised or those click-through visits will be once-and-gone.