Everyone keeps saying that “content is king”, but does that mean backlinks are outdated?
In the online world, links are similar to votes, indicating that a certain page is popular and worth reading. This is an effective measure that Google uses to gauge where your site should sit within the search results. Link building is an absolute necessity for obtaining rank within the SERPs.
The more popular a site is, the higher the likelihood that search engines will place it towards the top, subsequently increasing organic traffic, and potential revenue.
Not only will backlinks improve a site’s standing, but they will also help spread brand awareness and could be an extremely useful source for siphoning traffic from the other sites that link to you as well.
What About Social Signals?
For quite some time there has been a lot of speculation as to whether or not Google looks at social signals (i.e. Facebook likes, shares, Twitter tweets, etc.) as part of their ranking factors. In 2010, Google’s Webspam Team Leader, Matt Cutts, even mentioned that social signals were important.
Since then, Google has launched their own social media brand, Google + and have since changed their tune. Social media is incredibly complex and may be better off not being apart of the ranking algorithm. After all, it was reported that Facebook has an estimated 83 million fake Facebook pages in 2012, which is roughly the population of Egypt.
Remember, in 2012, Facebook began offering paid posts and adverts for business owners, making it lucrative for people to create fake pages and sell likes, clicks, and comments to business owners. Obviously, if you’re Google, you would see this social media manipulation as a potential way of gaming the system, thus making social media a very insignificant ranking factor. It’s still all about the links.
Even today, building backlinks is still the easiest way to rank a website.
Now That We Have That Settled…
Oddly enough, as important as link building is, few have the technical knowledge that is required to build links that are natural, forcing countless marketers to resort to spammy paid links from sites like Fiverr or SEOClerks.
Obviously, the use of paid links is against Google’s terms of service and subject to penalty. Another popular route is to build your own private blog network of websites that direct links to your money site.
Though this has been shown to be extremely effective, it is also far too easy for Google to discover your “footprints,” making the use of private blog networks fairly risky. Even if the quality of a paid linking service or a private blog network is high, would you really want that sort of potential liability looming over your head?
It only takes one new update, and your entire source of income could very well disappear overnight. As an intelligent business person, that is not a risk that you should be willing to take.
Rarely will you hear an industry leader advocating the use of spammy practices, instead encouraging their followers to build outstanding traffic that people will want to link to. Though building quality content should be the lifeblood of your business, it is misleading to suggest that simply posting content will assure that your business will receive links.
It takes an audience to view your content and decide whether or not your material is even linkworthy to begin with. How are you supposed to build an audience without ranking in the search results…which requires backlinks?
It’s a vicious circle that plagues many new marketers every day. Sure, there are countless methods to build views through social media and other mediums that may result in links, but is a very reactive approach that places the overall success of your business in the hands of others.
Building Links the Right Way
Instead, take a proactive approach to link building that will yield powerful results while also fitting within Google’s terms of service. With this approach, you learn how a few links can turn into even more links without any additional effort on your part.
I will be showing you exactly how you can create your content in a way that allows others to link to your site. We will be walking through every step of the entire process in order to ensure that you have a full understanding of how this strategy works, and just how potent the results can be.
Step 1: Content Creation Made Easy
In order for others to link to your content, it has to be worthy of linking to in the first place. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that using platforms such as BuzzSumo can help provide ideas of popular content that is already being shared. With the help of BuzzSumo, you can research keywords within your niche that may make a suitable topic to write about.
- For ideas on how to choose appropriate keywords, try to narrow the focus of your niche. For instance, if I have a site within the IM niche, a popular sub niche would be SEO. Now, try narrowing your search down even more, to discuss a single aspect of SEO, such as link building. Then, choose a single topic within link building, similar to what I did with this blog post, choosing to focus on natural link building.
- The topic of your content should be unique and not simply rehashed ideas that others have already published in the past. If for some reason you do choose to rehash old material, it must have a new spin on it that is completely exclusive to your site.
- Others must view you as an authority. So, the content that you create must be within your knowledge base or at least something which you have a good understanding of.
- Your topic should not only provide value for the reader, but also be viewed as a possible resource by other content creators within your niche. This is key.
- There should be a demand for your topic that is not currently being met.
Step 2: Prepare to be Shared
- Ensure all titles are intriguing and prompt click-throughs.
- Add a social media plugin that is highly visible, such as ShareBar that follows the screen when the reader scrolls down.
- Be sure that all embed codes and downloads are highly visible, with a call to action that prompts readers to share.
Step 3: Whales vs Guppies
In order to derive the most use out of this method you must be willing to approach the most authoritative content creators within your niche. If you were to convince only one “whale” to link to your site in their own content, then it may be as powerful (if not more) than if you were to convince 20 “guppies” to link to your content instead.
The backlink from a highly relevant, extremely authoritative site will do wonders for your rankings as well as bring you new viewers.
How to Find the Big Whales?
For this step, you can use BuzzSumo again. There is a tab that will allow you to view “influencers” for any given keyword phrase based on social shares, allowing you to deduce who may be the most suitable to reach out to.
Another equally effective strategy for finding the authorities within your niche is to use Google+. When you sign into your Google+ account, there is a tab on the left hand side. If you click on this tab, located in the dropdown menu will be able to choose an option labeled “people.” On the people page, you can either search for keywords and you will be given a list of people that fit the criteria.
Another approach is to find the tab at the top of your Google+ page that says “Discover.” After you click on it, you will have the opportunity to choose your niche and a list of the most influential authors will show up. Be advised that choosing this approach will only provide a very broad list of influencers, which may or may not be suitable for your post.
Once you’ve identified your big fish, simply reach out to them in an email or on social media to inform them that you’ve created a post that their audience may find valuable. If the content is of high enough quality, then they may decide to link to it in a later post, or at least send it to their audience via social media. Either way, it’s a win-win.
Note: There is no real secret to approaching others online. The best possible advice is to try to come off as personable and not spammy. People are willing to work with those that they like.
It may take some time in order to get others to link to your content, but is well worth it in the end. The more that you use this approach, the easier it will be. Contacting authorities within your niche may also open up future opportunities for collaborations and other highly lucrative ventures.
Those that abuse Google’s terms of service are looking for a shortcut. Unfortunately, that short cut could cost them their business. You, on the other hand, will be able to build links naturally to highly relevant sites within your niche that will guarantee added rankings and incredible amounts of long term organic traffic.
Do you take a different approach to SEO? Feel free to share your link building suggestions below…