Nonreciprocal inbound links are great for your rank in the search engines. However, getting them, particularly from well-trusted sites, takes a little ingenuity. Want a fun, low-cost way to get some buzz going? Hold a contest. This is a great strategy to get blogs and individual readers to link to your site, sending you traffic and increasing your rank.
A wide range of products and services can be offered as prizes in a contest. While consumer-oriented and luxury products such as books, candies and cosmetics are the most obvious choices, there are plenty of options for businesses that sell services or that operate on a business to business model, as well. A site offering accounting services, for instance, can offer an hour long consultation as a prize. A housecleaning service could offer a free one-hour cleaning. The prize should be large enough for entrants to become excited about it, but not so large that the cost is painful. This is a customer acquisition cost and should be inline with what you would normally feel spending to bring new viewers to your site.
There are a number of factors to weigh when choosing between hosting the contest yourself and having someone else – usually the most prominent blogger you can woo – host your contest. If you host it yourself, you can more tightly control advertising about the contest, the contest’s duration, and how the winner is chosen. However, having a blogger host a giveaway for you gives you credibility with and access to their audience.
Finding a blog to host a contest for you will require some research. Contact the owners of high-traffic blogs in your niche and ask them if they would like to host a giveaway of your product. Provide them with as much supporting material as you can: attractive photos, detailed product specs and high-quality marketing copy can make your contest more interesting to potential hosts.
The easiest and most common type of online contest is a simple random drawing. You can give away entries for a number of actions that bring traffic back to your site. Common ways to give out entries include: commenting on the contest announcement post; tweeting, blogging, or posting on Facebook about the contest and referring additional entrants.
So, once your contest is launched, how do you get the word out? Start by contacting a handful of bloggers who write about your niche. Bloggers are always hungry for content and your contest gives them something to report. News will spread further as entrants blog, tweet and post on Facebook about your giveaway.
Contests have a number of benefits besides the traffic and search engine optimization (SEO) bump you can get. People like free stuff and a contest helps build goodwill. Even people who do not win the contest may become intrigued about your product and decide to try it out. There’s little to lose and much to gain by implementing this novel and fun SEO strategy.