There are a number of different ways to envision the internet, from a highway to a “series of tubes.” When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), it sometimes helps to picture the web as a mass of interconnected chains. This is because links, especially backlinks, are such an important part of SEO. A link is a beacon to both audiences and search engines that says, “this is interesting enough that you should leave the current page and see it.”
Unfortunately, there are numerous ways that links can be purchased without the quality content to back them up. As a result, Google has been aggressively devaluing backlinks in how its algorithms weigh web sites. The result is that links are still important, just not as much as they used to be. This also means that it takes more effort to get the most out of your backlinks than it did previously, so consider the following tips in your content marketing plans.
Content Is Key
People will not link to content they don’t find interesting. Your pieces must be informative, well-written, but also as original as possible. If the information you provide is the same basic stuff as on any number of other web sites—or Wikipedia—then why would someone find you compelling enough to link? You need to create content that can’t easily be found elsewhere.
The tricky part of this approach is that, depending on your subject, there may not be much to say that hasn’t come up before. This is not an immediate obstacle, however. Numerous methods can be employed to make content more original.
Thoroughness: If you look at how different news sites report the same story, you’ll notice that they don’t all offer the same details. This is true of other topics as well. By combining information from multiple sources you can create a more detailed composite that offers more to readers than any one component.
Personality: Not everything needs to be written in the somber tone of a textbook. Try changing the “voice” you write in to create a more unique experience for the reader.
Tell A Story: Changing the structure of the article can make it stand out against competitors and appeal to different kinds of readers. For example, if you are trying to explain a kind of service, consider writing it as a “walkthrough” from the perspective of a first-time client as opposed to a top-down view of the process.
Guest blogging is where you contribute one or more articles to another site. It lets you benefit from the exposure that other, more popular blogs provide and also helps for networking with others in your field. Guest blogging properly requires a degree of trust since your target isn’t likely to accept a guest post they think just wants SEO links. Start by being a commenter or contributor to the site, then pitch an idea down the line.
Certain web sites, like Yahoo! Answers, allow users to post questions and receive answers from the community. If you monitor these sites for questions relevant to your business and then respond, you further your own authority and have an opportunity to link back to your content. The key part here is to make sure understanding your answer does not require clicking on the link. The link should be an optional, “here is more detailed info if you want to know more.”
Chances are your field has a number of other authoritative web sites or blogs on the same subject. Roundups are a way to leverage that population into reciprocal links and SEO. First, come up with a single question that your audience would want the answer to, then pose that question to other experts. Obviously, you will need to talk with them and explain beforehand to get permission so you aren’t dropping the question out of the blue. Next, create an article that aggregates these answers and add your own thoughts. Don’t forget to include links back to the web sites of the experts who responded. Once this article is posted, those you mention in it will want to let their own readers know about it. This inevitably means they need to link to the page on your site.
Another option to this method is simply to post an article listing various sources and authorities your readers might find interesting, with your own comments on each expert or blogger included. Alternatively, you could contact others who post their own roundup lists and ask for inclusion.
Similar to roundups, interviews can work whether you are conducting them yourself or are the one being interviewed. If you can get an authority to sit down with you and answer questions, not only will any content pertaining to the interview get a boost, but the authority will want to link to your page to let their own audiences know about it. It helps to have some detailed questions, ideally related to some current event or industry development, to pique the interest of both readers and the desired expert.
Getting interviewed yourself can be a bit harder since you need to already have established yourself as an authority worth sitting down with. Look to podcasts, industry publications, or local news groups as possible candidates. Make sure to be specific about the topic you are offering to speak on and be prepared to offer evidence of your knowledge. The most direct means to do so would be if you have written a book on the subject in question, but other elements like awards or the age of your business can work too. When being interviewed, focus on the topic at hand and put any SEO attempts on the backburner. Your link will come in the bio at the end and the interview’s purpose is to establish that you are worth listening to.
Numero Uno Web Solutions is a provider of search engine optimization, content marketing, and traffic building solutions for startup and small companies from all industries and fields. We stay on the pulse of industry changes and adapt our practices to produce quality SEO, content marketing, and traffic building plans to fuel the growth of businesses across communities. Click here to learn more about growing organic traffic, different SEO techniques, and how we can help improve your search profile.