How do you build links now that most self-serving link acquisition tactics are frowned upon by Google and can result in lost search visibility?
Link building remains one of the most effective digital marketing tactics, and not just for higher rankings (even though links do still remain the major organic ranking factor). Links drive referral clicks, and generate leads, making your site less dependent on search and advertising traffic.
But how do you build links these days, now that most self-serving link acquisition tactics are frowned upon by Google and can result in lost search visibility?
Here’s what we know for sure:
- Link building cannot be scaled
- Link building is not easy or fast.
A new approach to link building integrates all kinds of marketing assets and processes including content marketing, relationship building, and influencer outreach.
This article outlines exactly how to create an effective link building campaign.
Link Acquisition Campaign Goals:
For your campaign, you want to achieve the following:
- You want that asset to bring in links
- You want that asset to rank (because high-ranking content keeps bringing links organically as most writers/bloggers search Google to find sources to reference)
So there’s a little bit of a vicious circle here: You cannot rank without links but links also help to rank.
If you really want your link acquisition campaign to work, you need to aim for both: Your content asset should be linkable as well as rank on top of Google for related keywords.
What Non-Spammy Non-Scaled Link Building Methods Do We Know?
- Researching and creating linkable content (i.e. Content that attracts backlinks)
- Vanity baiting (ego-baiting): Featuring influencer(s) in your content for them to link back to the published content as well as attract more links (by name association)
- Relationship building (i.e. Connecting to publishers and journalists on social media for better brand familiarity and hence higher response rate)
- Broken link building (i.e. Reaching out to website owners linking to broken pages and offering to link to your live page instead)
If we really want to achieve both links and rankings, we need to combine all of those link acquisition methods within one campaign:
Sample Link Building Campaign
We had an ecommerce client manufacturing and selling LED lamps and our research included “light” as the core topic. We came up with the following content angles:
- Light Therapy
- Light and (Kids’) Creativity
- Light and Productivity
While we were doing our content research, we came across multiple articles across a lot of top publications referencing an interview (dating back to 2015) with a professor from NY Lighting Research Center talking about the impact of blue light on Alzheimer’s patients.
The interview had long been deleted but the links were all still there.
With that in mind, we took the following steps:
- We contacted the professor to get an updated quote on the topic. The professor shared her new interior room designs for Alzheimer’s patients which happened to perfectly align with our client’s main ecommerce focus, i.e. “interior lightning.”
- We did some additional research (including keyword research) to identify what we want the asset to rank for to be able to get discovered by more bloggers and journalists.
- At the same time, even before we started working on the actual content, we tracked down all those journalists and bloggers who had written about the deleted interview. We also identified more key influencers who were covering the topic (sticking to our specific angle, e.g. Alzheimer’s disease). We put together a Twitter list and started interacting with them to familiarize them with our team before we reach out.