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How to Use Blog-Based Contests to Earn Links #linksecrets

enter to winLink building for e-commerce stores can be tricky when there are primarily just category and product pages, and not much other resourceful content. Beyond the obvious (creating resourceful content to promote, drive traffic and build links), contests are a great way to attract attention from the rest of the web.

One specific strategy, which I helped to create for a previous employer, was one that involved leveraging an e-commerce website’s existing newsletter list and social media audience to promote a blog-based contest. The concept involved asking the existing audience to blog (on their own blog/website) about something dear to their heart (yet topically relevant) in order to be entered for a chance to win a set of prizes (on the e-commerce site that we were trying to build links to).

Leverage email lists and social media to promote a blog-based contest to earn links. [tweet this]

In this specific scenario, we leveraged an audience of knitting aficionados and asked them to blog about their first knitting project (including their story, pictures, etc.). Many knitters still have their first project, so it offered a great way for them to talk about their experience and provide photos. Recognize the egobait built into this strategy? We asked them to choose five products (from the e-commerce store we were promoting) that they’d wish to win (if chosen as a winner), and to specifically mention them in their blog posts. We were careful not to specifically ask for links, as that could be seen as “bartering for links” by search engines. Instead, we simply asked them to mention the products that they’d like to win, which would leave it open to natural links being acquired from some (but not all) participants.

The participants were then instructed to submit their blog post URL and contact information to us in order to be entered into the contest. When all entries are received, a landing page could also be created on the host e-commerce website, curating the most intriguing entries. This creates a follow-up promotional opportunity, which can drive even more links to the website.

This strategy works best for e-commerce stores that sell products without an expiration date. However, creative ways could rework the strategy to encourage category page links as well. Beyond acquiring links from contest participants, there are also links to be acquired from contest websites along with other topically-relevant websites and blogs that wish to report on the contest to their own audiences. Driving a wave of social signals is also highly probably with a strategy like this, as it’s very shareable content.

When it comes to building the highly coveted domain authority for an e-commerce site (which may or may not have duplicate content), a strategy like this can result in many more links than common single opportunity-based link building tactics that SEO link builders are used to. We are looking to implement strategies like this for our clients at seOverflow, and are aware that every client will be different, so each contest will be slightly different to boot.

This tip, and 19 more, can be downloaded in one PDF.


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Dan Kern

Dan Kern

Dan Kern is a 10-plus year SEO veteran from Denver, CO, with a passion for content marketing and business excellence. He works as an SEO Strategist for seOverflow and also has his own SEO blog.

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2 Responses to How to Use Blog-Based Contests to Earn Links #linksecrets

    • Rap Genius required “publishers to publish links with keyword-rich anchor text in exchange for tweeting out a link to the bloggers’ websites” – source: http://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-hits-rap-genius-spam-penalty-resulting-80-traffic-loss/84415/

      My strategy only asks bloggers to mention the products they would want to win. They don’t have to link if they don’t want to. If they do link, then it’s out of their own personal choice. Here’s that line from my post:

      “We were careful not to specifically ask for links, as that could be seen as “bartering for links” by search engines. Instead, we simply asked them to mention the products that they’d like to win, which would leave it open to natural links being acquired from some (but not all) participants.”

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