Google penalties transformed the way link builders work. Long gone are the days of forum links, comment links and link networks. Now link building professionals are solely reliant on obtaining genuine links from high authority websites, primarily through content.
This is where the lines blur between PR and Link Building: part of the job of a PR professional is to secure quality coverage for their clients, ideally in highly regarded publications. This is why it is beneficial for link builders to step into the shoes of a PR professional and not approach their digital marketing strategy purely from a link building perspective, the only differences being that the content is published online and a link must be secured.
Here are some PR tips to help link builders secure those high value links.
1. Build Relationships
Whilst the aim of your campaign is to build links, aim to build relationships first. Cold calling or blindly emailing a journalist will have varied levels of success. It is possible to get lucky, but it’s more likely the journalist will completely blank you. This latter approach runs the risk of having your email being buried or ignored and your phone calls dodged.
Similar to the old days of PR where professionals would take journalists out for a drink, it is still as important to establish these relationships today. Of course it is a lot harder to take journalists out these days, especially as digital marketers target hundreds per week, but offering a journalist great exclusive content on time and consistently can be a great stepping stone to a long-term, strong, professional relationship.
If you have previously worked with a journalist, and you were reliable, they are more likely to open your email the next time you send them something. This doesn’t mean they are guaranteed to publish every piece of content you send their way, but getting your emails noticed is a step in the right direction. Keep notes about certain journalists so you can personalise your communication, you can ask about a holiday, a business trip and so on, as well as being able to send them content they are likely to publish.
2. Offer Something Exclusive
Any good website will want their content to be unique and EXCLUSIVE, particularly as Google notices duplicate content and doesn’t look upon it favourably. If you have offered several websites the same piece of content not only will this not do your rankings any good, but it will also reduce the trust between you and these publications.
Every piece of content offered for publication should be offered as an exclusive. This means only one site should publish it. Exclusive pieces are considered newsworthy and are therefore more likely to be picked up by a website for publication.
Although this tactic will only guarantee one link per article, having exclusive content will give you access to quality websites with a higher metrics, such as Majestic trust flow and Moz domain authority.
Where a press release is being distributed and you have a particular publication in mind, you could offer them a 24 hour exclusive, meaning you give them a head start on the story before general distribution. This is particularly effective if you have a contact at the publication and can send a personalised email offering the exclusive.
3. Target Niches
Link building can be a competitive battlefield, with every company on the web wanting to gain the coveted top spot on Google’s SERP (Search Engine Results Pages). Therefore, it is not enough to produce generic content to outreach to a many websites, this content may be picked up by a semi decent website for being vaguely relevant during a dry spell of content, but this won’t do much for your rankings. It is best to put your PR hat on and focus on a niche market, targeting the authoritative websites within that niche.
As an example of a company targeting a niche sector, an alternative finance company could spend their time targeting finance publications with generic alternative finance tips, tricks and ideas articles, however this type of content is very general and probably exists one hundred times over. In other words this approach does not generate any excitement within the publications because there is nothing unique about the content and it won’t help the publication to put new content in front of their consumers.
Instead, this company should identify one of their biggest converting business sectors and write content that would appeal specifically to them. A piece of content targeted at this sector and published in the trade publications will bring in more traffic and is likely to convert at a higher percentage rate than putting generic articles in front of similar companies the same industry.
If you are not sure how to target a particular niche sector use Google Alerts to monitor keywords within that sector and be active in the different industry forums: users may link to articles which will provide you with publications to target.
4. Choose Quality not Quantity
Back in the days of black hat SEO it was all about the links obtained rather than the quality of those links. Nowadays, with Google penalties knocking websites off their search results here, there and everywhere, link builders should put quality at the forefront of their objectives when commencing a link building campaign.
You may jump for joy at bloggers being interested in publishing your original content, but don’t be surprised when rankings don’t improve. A single link from a high authority domain website will be more powerful than four links from a website with very low quality metrics. Google recognises the importance of certain websites, so if your link is found within an informative, well-written piece of content on one of high authority websites, Google will look favourably on it.
It is also a fact that quality links, or the content they are embedded in, naturally attract other links. If a highly authoritative website, such as the Huffington Post, has published your content and linked to your website it is possible that others may follow suit and cite parts of the content on their own websites or even visit your website and view other pieces of content.
If you would like to start a link building campaign get in contact with Receptional today to discuss your requirements.