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Passive Link Building – Site Badges

By Bekka Palmer

Site badges are images hosted on your own server that come with pre-made markup for your fans to use on their own sites that link back to you. Site badges are most successful on sites where your fans or users have incentive to link to your site. For example, users have incentive to link to their own profiles on twitter.com, because they are promoting themselves and thus creating a link to the domain.

This is probably the most hands-off link building strategy you can use. It takes a few hours for proper setup, but then becomes a passive way to get links to your site. If it’s done right and easy to find on your site, can get you a lot of high quality links over time.

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3 important steps in creating site badges:

  1. Designing the Badges
  2. Html Text Areas
  3. Javascript One Click

Designing the Badges

When designing the badges, think about your user base.

  • Are your users already immersed in all of the major social media sites? Then think about making your badge more of an icon style to fit in nicely next to their twitter, facebook, del.i.cious, myspace and YouTube icons.
  • Are your users or fans of a mixed demographic? Then make a wide variety of badges for different settings.

Just make sure to keep the branding consistent so people recognize the website if they click through from the badge.

HTML Text Areas

Not only are you going to be providing an image for the badge, but it’s best to provide the HTML you want the link to use. That way you can choose the title, the alt text for the image and the page the link goes to. Use the html tag textarea to define an area where you can write the html for the badge that a browser won’t parse. This area is then copied by your fans and pasted into their own sites.

Example text area:

Javascript One Click

This step is the one most often forgotten. you need to add a short line of javascript to the text area to select the all of the html within the textarea in one click. According to seomoz.org, this greatly increases the number of people that will actually add a badge to their own site. Remember, we are a convenience driven society, so making an entire area highlighted with one click means less work for the user.

In the opening tag for the textarea add this markup: onclick=”javascript:select();”

So your textarea opening should look like this:

Try it out for yourself, click in the box to see the entire area select with one click.

It’s also important that you make it easy to find the badges on your site. If you create a whole page for badges, make it easy to find in the navigation, and don’t be afraid to tell people about the badges. The whole point of creating them is to get people to use them.

A great example of badges we did for a client is at Natural Baby Pros. Here, there is a wide variety of badges, and to get links across the site, we made each of the badges link to a different URL.

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