Link building has become a bit of a swear word in the inbound marketing world. It's running around in the same realm as "keywords" and has been dubbed "outreach", "building links" and "content marketing". But essentially, they're all the same thing. We want to get people to link to our content and the process that we follow builds these opportunities. So, link building it is.
The fact that links are more difficult to acquire these days and that Google will slam you for obtaining the wrong ones has made it all the more difficult to build them. But the fact remains that they do still act as a vote of confidence for your site and you do still need them and should want them.
Going About Attracting Links
If you're not one of the Nike, Coca-Cola or Samsungs of the world, it's a little tricky trying to build and attract links into your site. The process requires a lot of foresight, creativity and downright hard work, but the rewards are of immense benefit. Not only for ranking factors, but also to build brand awareness, referral traffic and hopefully... conversions.
So how do you go about attracting these links?
Well... James Agate has a theory and it's one that resonates really well with my way of thinking and doing. I am not one who likes to sit for hours plugging away at the same thing, day after day. I like to find intelligent solutions for processes that can be improved upon. James' theory on link attraction is one such process that has been fine-tuned to what - I believe - could be perfection!
The entire premise of his theory is based on how sites with an already high volume of inbound links, will naturally receive more links based on the fact that their prominence is profiled. Obviously it's the getting to that part of being a "linked-to" site that is the tricky bit, but if you're determined to find that alternative route, then you'll more than likely benefit. All you need are some links in order to build more links. Stay with me here...
Conceptualizing Content That People Need
Devising content that answers a question, solves a problem or meets a need in the greater web-based market is the key defining factor here. Conceptualizing great content can't just be about what you think is great. It has to have a purpose for the public or they aren't going to link to it. Some of the points that would define a great idea would be:
- A topic you are well-versed in, somewhat of an expert, some might say
- Something that will provide ongoing benefit to a wide variety of people
- If you can provide content that speaks to the public but also acts as a source of information for other writers, you've hit the nail on the head
- If there isn't a lot of content that speaks to your idea, then you've definitely found first prize
It's all fine and well putting down these points to tick off on your list, but how do you actually come up with the ideas in the first place? That's where a lot of us seem to find difficulty... me included. The bottom line is that you have to do your research, so there is a level of manual process involved here. Keyword research tools are a good place to start because you can already identify what your readers are searching for, but don't stop there.
- Browse through content that is already answering the queries found in your keyword research and try to determine if they've solved the problem or answered the question. If not, there's your opportunity
- Then also look at what other pieces of content are related to it. Have those pieces done an effective job of answering a question or can you do a better job?
- Consult forums within your niche and try to find those popular questions that have even been ignored or not answered properly. Get in there and turn it into your opportunity
The manner in which you execute your ideas is also a defining factor for success. Think graphical content, videos or perhaps even downloadable e-books; not necessarily simply another blog post to add to your archives.
Seeding The Content On The World Wide Web
Once you've posted this incredible content you've created onto your personal site blog, look further afield for the perfect seeding location; a high-profile, well-trafficked site within your niche that will stand as the syndication location. Syndicating your content will allow it to receive more traction and attract more eyeballs, especially if you choose a high profile site that further sites syndicate content from. The syndicated content will be a quoted portion of your work with a link back to your site, or it could be the entire article linking back to you as the original source.
What can very well happen is that the syndicated site will start to outrank you for the content, because it was a more prominent site in the first place. This is still okay, because you're still going to gain links and traffic and you will definitely gain exposure. Basically, you're still going to be ahead of where you were.
Spread The Word
Once your content is up, it's been syndicated and it's available for anyone and everyone to read and share, try and add a little more emphasis and gain some more traction. We recently put together a post on how to attract the best authors for your content marketing efforts and that process can be used here too. Try and get in touch with any number of bloggers, site owners and authors and tempt them with your content - specifically those who are within the same niche and field of interests. All it will take is for one or two of these profiled bloggers to link to, cite or syndicate your content and those links will lead to more links. It is easier said than done, but the initial perseverance pays off and the passive link building can come into play.
Pay For A Little More Exposure
The final step in this theory was quite unexpected but it makes complete sense. If you've created this incredible piece of content that answers questions and solves problems, surely you want to the online world to read it? No everyone will find it organically, so make it that much easier by paying for a few ads that will highlight it in related searches.
Using social media advertising and paid content discovery, you can get your content found by the millions of people who really want to read it, but just haven't found it yet. Using Twitter ads, Facebook ads and platforms like Zemanta, Outbrain, nRelate and Taboola, you will find the rest of your audience, even though you'll have to pay for them initially. Once they've linked to your source, shared it, re-purposed it or syndicated it... the links will keep on growing, naturally.
Not entirely passive, but in the end it will be as the content will retain it's authority and even build more over time. Useful points, try them out and let us know how you do!