Link building is hard. It takes creativity, patience, persistence, and confidence. It also takes time (and money)! In-house marketers and agencies spend countless hours writing content that will garner links from authoritative sources.
Let’s say that you do come up with a great piece of content. The article that you wrote is fresh, unique, and the definitive guide to (fill in the blank) on the internet. All your hard work is about to pay off. Over the next few hours and days you get tons of shares on social media, traffic spikes and you are patting yourself on the back.
Fast forward a week or two, and the traffic is gone. Your article is only producing sporadic social media shares. What now? Back to the drawing board, and time to come up with great new content.
This sounds like a lot of work, and unless you have the right audience and influence, it might not seem worth it.
This doesn’t sound like a fool-proof path to success to me. I don’t doubt the power of content marketing (you’re reading my blog so clearly you know where I stand on that topic), I just wonder if there is a better and faster way to build links and authority.
It occurred to me that building a web app or tool would be a self-sustaining link building source. This isn’t new, and corporations have been using this method for a long time. The point I’m trying to make is that even if you yourself are not capable of building a useful web app, the investment it would take to hire someone that could will be well worth it.
Before I get to some examples, you might be asking yourself this question.
What Should I Develop/Have Developed?
That is not an easy question to answer. It requires the same amount of thought and research that writing a blog post would. It has to be something useful, it has to be something not done before, and it has to be better than every other tool out there.
Try to think of something specific to your niche that will save people time. Be creative!
Here are 5 great examples of tools that were created by developers – and have earned hundreds (even thousands) of links.
Note: Each of the examples that I have found are specific to my niche, Inbound Marketing.
Gplus.to is a tool developed by Sirzat Aytac that turns the ugly long Google+ profile URLs into an easy to remember short URL. Gplus.to even lets you choose your short URL (if it’s available) so you can completely customize your profile link. This is great for business cards, and print marketing materials where writing out the entire Google+ profile link isn’t practical.
Schema Creator – Raven Tools
Schema.org is a structured data standard adopted by major search engines. Structured data is easier for search engines to organize and categorize, so it’s so every websites advantage to include the markup in it’s HTML.
The problem that many people have is that Schema.org markup is rather confusing at first. This is where the Schema Creator comes in handy. It makes creating Schema.org markup extremely simple, and nothing more than a copy and paste job. A great tool for marketers.
OpenSiteExplorer – Moz
OpenSiteExplorer, for the uninitiated, is a tool to discover backlinks for any website. It’s part of the Moz Analytics subscription, but you do get a small amount of data for free. Marketers everywhere use it daily, and it’s earned thousands of links.
Algoroo – Dejan SEO
Algoroo is another cool tool for marketers from my favorite Australian SEOs.
Algoroo tracks Google algorithm changes by observing turbulence in rankings of thousands of keywords.
This tool took a significant amount of effort to develop (I can only imagine) but you have to admit it’s really cool and incredibly impressive.
*Begin shameless self promotion*
Share Tally is an awesome tool to see how many times a post or web page has been shared on social media. It’s a tool I built myself to improve on a few existing similar tools.
I never thought that Share Tally would get the type of attention that it did, but it’s become a link building source in and of itself.
The point I’m trying to make is that if you are able to develop (or have developed) a tool that is worth using, the links will build themselves, and you’ll have your own self-sustaining link producer.