Google, arguably the most relevant search engine in the world to date, has been aggressively rolling out updates on algorithm changes since last year. The updates aim to eliminate spam on their search results and provide users with the best possible sites based on the searched keyword moving forward. For online marketers, this spells doom to once effective but fishy link building tactics such as article spinning and unnatural keyword insertions, among others.
What is encouraged now by Google and search engines are methods that promote high-quality and shareable content related to your niche. The current trend in link building starts with your own content. By developing a fundamentally sound content strategy, you can build links coming from users who volunteered to share your content and not for any other reason.
Here are ways to develop a link building campaign that relies on high-quality content as means to a developing strong link profile.
If you’re publishing content on your blog or site, you must develop the topics you intend to write about and schedule them in your editorial calendar. Consider four things when developing topics for your content: type (article, design inspiration, infographic), focus keyword, search flavor, and target market.
Make the titles of each post as compelling as possible to encourage people to click through the link and read your content. Mix up your topics by writing about evergreen (long-lasting) and timely (holidays, current events) content to diversify your blog or site. Develop a theme-based daily schedule, i.e. publish articles on Monday, infographics on Tuesday, etc. so you can develop a rhythm with your blog that readers can follow.
This content type is interesting enough to catch people’s attentions. Link bait is determined by the social shares it receives from Facebook and Twitter, which are means to building links to your site. Once users like or tweet your content, they endorse and encourage others to take a look at that content. The more shares your content receives, the more valuable your content becomes in the eyes of users. This increases the chances of your content being read by users and linked on their sites.
Push the limit of great content to get more users to take notice. Strictly composing well-written posts will not cut it anymore – you may need to diversify the content types published on your site or blog. Think of the flash mob dance hosted by T-Mobile and The Noob Guide to Online Marketing by Unbounce. Both content are prime examples of content that exhausts and inspires action from people.
This replaces blog commenting as your primary method of getting links placed at sites. Create a tailor-made guest post for the site you intend to submit on. A good guest post maintains its audience as the priority. Tie the guest post back to your business so readers will be reminded of your products and services.
At the bottom of your post, write a byline about yourself and your business. This is also the place where your anchor text and marketing message will be included. The anchor text should fit within the context of your byline and must read naturally. To add a personal touch to the byline, use your real name on all guest posts you will be writing to increase exposure of your name. Include your Google+ so you can develop your authorship and maximize search result ranking for your name.
For more information on how to do guest blogging, refer to Kristi Hines’ post entitled The Ultimate Guide to Guest Blogging.
Long-lasting connections with high-quality sites determine your business’ competitiveness in the search results. It all starts by reaching out to blog or site owners to write a guest post or share content on their site. Once they accept and publish your guest post, reply back to comments on your posts or even comments on other posts. Make it a habit to write for their site regularly to build readership off their existing audience.
Extend your outreach to your social media profiles. Connect with thought leaders, like-minded entrepreneurs, and potential customers on Facebook and Twitter. This allows you to get a broader sense of your market and tweak your strategies as you see fit.
Better yet, do some offline and integrated marketing to boost your online activity. Attend upcoming conventions or trade shows where you can hand out brochures or business cards to people with a URL shortened link to your site. Don’t forget to form connections and exchanging contact details as well.
The idea here is to humanize your online social profile by increasing engagement, interaction, and familiarity to your identity. All changes in the Google algorithms point marketers towards a link building strategy that views things from a holistic sense. Link building now becomes a means to an end, the way it’s supposed to be.