One of the more challenging aspects of internet marketing is in the area of offsite content placement and link building.
Companies who are serious about marketing on the internet understand that while their own site is very important, it is also important to be represented in other key places around the internet. They also realise that search engines like Google are increasingly looking for ways to promote genuine high quality sites ahead of all of the rest which is why backlinks are important in online marketing.
Backlink – a definition
A “backlink” is where a site other than your own, includes a clickable link from one of their pages back to your site. Therefore one of the ways that search engines determine if your site’s content should be ranked ahead of your competitors is to look for evidence of good authority backlinks as an endorsement of your website and its content. When a search engine finds these links they will reward your site and content with improved search engine rankings.
An example would be sharing an infographic with another site when you knew the content of the infographic would be of interest to that website’s visitors. The other site embeds your infographic on their site and as a thank you includes a link back to your site, crediting you as the creator of the visual.
Reasons for link building
There are lots of reasons for distributing your content to targeted places on the wiser internet and getting it hosted on good quality sites:
- Search engines will reward you with improved search engine rankings for your content and the links which you earn,
- Your content has the opportunity to rank and be accessed from numerous sites other than your own,
- Once your content is distributed out to many relevant places, you may be viewed as an influencer in your marketplace/industry sector.
Relevancy is important, therefore influential industry related news and content sites, blogs and video sites and forums are where you need to be represented.
As demonstrated in the infographic example shown in the video, the content does not need to be lots of words, in fact there’s a range of content types that can be considered from visuals, to videos.
Content and Engagement Planning
Identify places on the internet that are complementary to your own website and business objectives, then develop a content and engagement plan. This plan, over time will increase the exposure of your content and the search engine authority of your website.
A good place to start with this is to engage with the influencers in your organisation and their real-world contacts and networks. Find out everything you can from within your business about existing networks (both offline and online) and remember to investigate your business’ knowledge of relevant industry publications, press contacts, memberships or relationships with professional bodies and links to academia.
Key Points for content planning:
- If you don’t have anything interesting to say you won’t get the offsite representation that you want.
- If you don’t say what you have to say in an interesting way then people are unlikely to publish your content and link to you.
- If you simply publish other people’s content then there is not much value in others sharing it on unless you are adding value to the content such as giving your expert opinion on the information.
- Duplicate content will also prevent you from achieving gains in search engine rankings
Your content must be original, interesting, relevant and presented in the most appropriate way for your audience. Web content with graphics, infographics or videos tend to gain more views, shares and backlinks compared to simple text based content.
Once you have exhausted the personal knowledge and connections within your business, there are other methods of identifying content placement and link building opportunities, two are described in the video:
Google search – using your most important keywords, search Google and identify high ranking industry publications, blogs or other places where it might be possible to place and share content. Blogs can be an excellent way to find new audiences that you can get your message in front of. Let’s say we want to increase the audience and following of the Web Analytics World blog, searching on some of our target keywords and then splitting the results into blogs we can identify other key blogs in this space that we can offer to contribute content to and offer to guest blog for. This would gain us exposure to a new audience and ideally earn some backlinks, traffic and new followers as a result.
Analyse your competitors’ sites to identify the sites that are back linking to them and identify the authority that each of these back links carries. With this information you may be able to identify additional sites with which to build a relationship, have your content placed and in turn earn some strong backlinks.
Link Building is a challenging area, but if these principles are followed by those within the organisation who have the ability to influence and create content, then over time your website’s search engine performance will improve.