There are a lot of idioms that relate to presentation. Dress for success, the costume makes the man, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. As a society, for whatever reason, we are consumed with appearance. We hold nationally televised beauty competitions and fashion and cosmetics are billion dollar industries. Philosophical debates on whether or not this is one of the more unfortunate aspects of our civilization aside, appearance is an influential factor in a number of areas; including internet marketing, including link building.
So that being the case, the way a page is presented can have both emotional and logistical implications in terms of link acquisition. There’s a sort of checklist anyone goes through when they’re getting ready to go out, well there are certain things to consider when it comes to creating linkable pages too.
Kill the Commercialism
The biggest way any page can turn into a total link deterrent is over-kill on the commercialism. If a page is covered in advertisements it’s not enticing for links. It doesn’t matter if the ads are AdSense or banners, or even if it’s seemingly innocuous self- promotion like “Best Free Shipping Ever” Or “Save on These Special Deals” the content loses some of its appeal.
Like a hot girl with her skirt tucked into the back of her pantyhose. It doesn’t matter how good the content is if there are tons of distracting commercial attributes surrounding the brilliance on your page, the perceived value will be diminished and with it the likelihood of you obtaining a link.
Professionalism and Authority
There’s a reason people dress up for interviews. That simple act creates the impression of professionalism and capability. Well, it’s not all that much different with links. The more reliable and authoritative content looks, the better it will perform. Your link assets are not the place to lapse into 1998 quality design.
Even stripping a page to white paper isn’t always ideal. These pages can have a logo, in fact they should. If your content is good, informative and useful you want those qualities to become synonymous with your brand. But it’s a balance. A logo, a navigation (perhaps a modified one) and some links are OK to allow visitors who come into your content pages to engage further with your site.
You can also keep any credibility factors visible on your pages. Featuring awards, certifications, expert credentials, or media references, even listing an author for your content can be a boon to credibility. And it’s also a good strategy for the site as a whole.
Images and Attractions
People tend to be highly visual. Words alone, while they may be an important collection of words, can be enhanced by images. Clothing designers use bright colors and patterns to make a something “pop”, images can have a similar effect on plain pages of text. Granted, it’s not always easy to find great graphics that are illustrative of your point. But they can be an important part of how you present your content. In addition to pictures, the more assets a page has the more linkable it becomes.
Combining useful written content with images, video, maps, additional resources, widgets and other features can create a resource that is even more compelling.
Finish off your non-commercial, professional, visually enticing pages with some social media accessories. If you want to attract links social media sharing buttons on your content pages can be extremely useful. Getting people to pay attention to your content is often the hardest part of link building in general. Direct outreach is an option, but it’s a difficult, time consuming process. Social media on the other hand can allow other people to help you promote your work.
Social media sharing icons show up everywhere now, on product pages, on blog posts, on contact us pages. In some cases it’s almost too much. Don’t inundate your users, but make opportunities to share available where it’s logical. It’s also may helpful to try different layouts, shapes, sizes, and formats. You might find that a little usability testing and experimenting can help increase the social media activity around your content.
Pulling the Look Together
The most important thing to remember is that not all of these rules apply to all pages, only the ones that stand a legitimate chance as link assets. It’s tough to be objective sometimes and admit that not all of your pages are all that linkable. But that’s OK, different pages have different functions, there are pages to sell, and there are pages to attract links.
The sales pages, can be commercial, they can have all the “25% Off Your Next Order” banners in the world. But the pages that are there to provide link worthy material should be built with the linker in mind. Those pages should go easy on the ads but without entirely giving up branding. They should also come to the party with something to say, dressed to impress and ready to mingle socially. With pages like that, you almost can’t help but turn heads.