As you may have heard a time or two, content is king. Of course it’s not an absolute monarchy, and needs to work with other aspects of government to generate success. Think of content along the same lines of England’s current ruling family. They command a great deal of pomp and a whole lot of importance, but the hard work that comes with actual governance is done by many offices of government. We were going to use the example of the POTUS and Houses of Congress, but we want to be sure you understand that content and SEO practices such as link building function well together :-).
So, back to our analogy, in this analogy Search Engine Marketing, Social Media Marketing, and the tools used to create and share your content represent the various bodies of British government.
Google has made a big deal out of content, and that has lead to a lot of content marketers latching onto the oft repeated phrase “content is king”. The rate at which this mantra is spouted might lead you to believe if you did nothing but build great content, success will assuredly come. Much like fad diets and magical weight-loss pills, however, the laws of reality still apply to internet marketing, and that means, there is no quick way to success, nor is there one magical way to be great at online marketing. The old rules of search engine optimization still apply.
Eventually one important part of your online marketing efforts is going to be link building. Link building is sort of the SEO equivalent of the British Foreign Office, as it involves connections and relations with other websites and internet properties. Link building is important as the more high quality links that lead back to your website, the higher your page will be ranked within Google. It is also a way to bring more traffic to your website, and can help improve your reputation. As in real life, “by your friends you shall be known” is a truism that applies to websites too.
The question then becomes, how do you go about using content to help drive link building ? Luckily, we’ve got some answers:
Create a Blog & Fill it With Useful Information
Okay, so we might have started this article by poking a bit of fun at the “content is king” mantra, and the gang that can’t shoot straight in DC. The truth of the matter is that, yes, people say this far too often, but it is also mostly true; if you want people to link to your page, you’re going to have to give them something worth while to link to. Creating and maintaining and interesting blog is a great way start teh “independent” link building that you want to have happening.
A blog, when managed properly, opens up the lines of communication with your audience. It also opens the lines of communication with other people’s audience as well.
Once you publish your blog and put your content out there, many of the people looking at it are likely to be people interested in the same subjects as you, which provides another link building opportunity. If your blog is interesting enough to keep them engaged, the odds are likely that some of them will reference your blog on their own website. Each time a member of your online audience links back to your blog, the potential for growth is limitless – think in terms of reaching your audience’s audience, your audience’s audience’s audience, and so on. All of these links contribute to a high Google ranking, and a wider audience.
The key here, however, is to make sure your content is engaging and worthy of all these links. We’ve got some great tips for creating great content so you can be sure your content is exciting enough to be shared.
A great way to promote yourself, your content, and your website, is to do it in your own words on someone else’s website. Guest blogging gives you just that opportunity.
While guest blogging may be something you feel you should shy away from as it takes up your time, uses your resources, and puts your genius creativity to work for someone else, it also serves to expand your audience and creates a quality inbound link to your site. In addition to creating a link to your website, creating content for someone else’s page can also lay the foundation for a great working relationship between your businesses.
It is important, however, to remember our first tip even when it comes to creating content for someone else’s blog. Your content has to be great. Don’t hold back just because you’re creating a blog that will be posted on someone else’s site. Make sure all of your guest blogging opportunities knock it out of the park.
When creating content for sites other than your own, it is expected that you would link back to your site through a guest blogging profile, and a cleverly placed link within your blog, however, don’t over do it.
When it comes to creating a back-link to your site within a guest blog post, do so moderately and only when it makes sense. Avoid stretching your content to include a back-link and don’t damage your relationship with the business whose site you are writing for by abusing the opportunity and stuffing the blog with back-links to your own page.
When it comes to link building and convincing people online to share your content, you need to, first, put yourself out there, and share your own content. What this means, is that you are going to have to get your feet wet in the waters of Social Media.
Being successful at Social Media, and having a number of people link back to your website thanks to your Social Media prowess, isn’t something that happens over night. Managing your online community is something akin to balancing the delicate eco-system of a home aquarium. It is something you must tend to, feed, and measure frequently on a consistent basis. You can’t just buy a bunch of tropical fish, dump them in a bowl full of water and expect to have a beautiful aquarium a week later.
A more successful approach to maintaining an aquarium will involve a great deal of preparation. You careful construct a beautiful habitat, measure water levels frequently, alter the environment as needed, and then add fish once everything is in check. With the fish in the aquarium, you need to feed your fish regularly, and continue monitoring your aquarium, and make adjustments accordingly.
Similarly, you create your Social Media profiles, connect with people, and participate in discussions to grow your audience. Once you experience growth within your Social Media community, you continue to feed your audience by participating in discussions, sharing your own content as well as other, relevant content.
As your online community grows, the links you share to your own website become that much more relevant as more people see your links, more people trust your links to be worth while, and more people will rely upon the links your share via Social Media as pertinent information. The more people who view your content as relevant, the more people will link to your page.
For some helpful tips on managing your online community, and building your audience, have a look at our list of 14 Things You Need to be Doing With Social Media
Maintain a Great Reputation
Remember in high school when your mom told you your good reputation is your most valuable possession? Well, like everything else your mom told you, she wasn’t wrong. This rule applies to a lot more of life than just high school, it applies to online marketing as well.
In a world where Mashable has all the information anyone will ever need, you have a lot to compete against. Why would someone want to link to your site when there is an article on Mashable they can link to or use as source material for their own blog?
The answer is that you have an awesome reputation, of course! For tips on managing your online reputation, give our article on Doing Online Reputation Management the Right Way a read. Thanks to your excellent reputation, your links will be more trusted and therefore more often linked to in blogs, on webpages, and by way of Social Media.
Avoid Black-Hat SEO Practices
Google’s drive to reward sites rich in quality content is born out of the blatant abuse of Google’s algorithms by Black-Hat SEO practitioners.
Black-Hat SEO is basically a way of using Google’s old algorithms to cheat the system and raise a website in Google ranking without doing anything to deliver useful information. Here is a brief list of some Black-Hat tricks that, with Google’s new algorithms, will get your site penalized, or removed from Google all together.
One of these tricks is backlinking schemes such as purchasing inbound links online, or creating a number of pages which link back to your home page. What a number of shady online marketers do when it comes to link building is outsource article writing to an overseas company which may charge as little as 25 cents for each article, add a link to their own page into these articles and post them with unique URLs. Here is an example of what this looks like. When you pay for a backlink, this is often what you are getting. Longer term what you are getting with such link is trouble!
There are a number of reasons why this type of backlinking scheme is a bad idea, not the least of which is that Google has caught onto this strategy of trickery and will penalize your site for your cheating ways.
Developing quality links and erring on the side of White-Hate SEO practices can be tricky. Guaranteed SEO can help you understand the difference between Black-Hat and White-Hat SEO practices, help you build quality links, and keep your page ranked high within Google. For more information on our SEO services, give us a call at 1-866-588-8282 or contact us.